“The restaurant is set in the picturesque village of Illhaeusern, a short one-hour drive from the city of Strasbourg. Housed in a charming, typically Alsatian, half-timbered building from the 19th century, the Auberge de l’Ill nestles in the meanders of the River Ill. An adjacent boutique hotel with eighteen rooms and private spa with outdoor pool faces a lush garden with views of the bucolic surroundings and its storks’ nests. The large bird is a symbol of happiness and prosperity in Alsace and well cared for by Marc’s mother Marie Haeberlin, the “soul of the house”. Tradition and heritage are important for the family business. But so is a modern, luxurious ambience. The amenities and decor in the spa and restaurant have recently been re-envisaged by Pari- sian designer Patrick Jouin who creates showrooms for luxury brands such as Van Cleef & Arpels. The dining room features exclusive materials and fabrics by Hermès and the lavish beige leather seats in the restaurant – reminiscent of the Bugatti Chiron – are handstitched by a craftsman who creates upholstery for luxury vehicles. Not the only common ground shared by Molsheim and Illhaeusern.
23 people work in the Bugatti Atelier, 23 people work in Marc’s kitchen. Cook- ing is an art. And so is building exceptional cars. “I think the most beautiful thing is to create something that gives pleasure to other people. Nobody needs a supercar, and nobody needs haute cuisine. Both serve no other pur- pose than to make people happy,” Marc says with a smile. The celebrity chef has always had a passion for cars. At a very young age he would collect autographs of famous race drivers, many of whom passed by L’Auberge de l‘Ill on their way back from a weekend in Hockenheim or at the Rallye Monte Carlo. Marc shows us a small album with a worn brown leather binding. The well-thumbed pages are yellowed and feature photographs of vintage cars in front of the restaurant. Marc flips to a page with a Bugatti Type 55. It must have been taken in the early 1960s. “I took these images as a boy whenever a particularly beautiful car was parked out front and I collected them in this album.” Sometimes, the owners would write a little note for the enthusiastic boy. Marc pulls out a larger album with a golden cover, which he handles with great care. It is one of the restaurant’s guest books that include almost every actor, statesman, musician and celebrity of the past five decades. A compendium of European history, all accumulated in a bunch of signatures, from Herbert von Karajan to the King of Sweden, who still stops in Illhaeusern once a year on his way from his kingdom to the South of France. Marc turns the pages with the world-famous names and suddenly points at a signature we know too well: Louis Chiron, 23rd March 1965. The Monegasque race driver was known for his love of food and often cooked himself. The signatures next to his name reveal his illustrious companions: the Prince of Sweden, the Prince of Monaco, Prince Napoleon and Fritz Schlumpf, owner of the world‘s biggest Bugatti collection at the time.”
Auszug aus einem Beitrag für das Bugatti Kundenmagazin, Delius Klasing Verlag 2017