Swiss chef Giovannini won the prize for his cooking at the world-renowned Hôtel de Ville de Crissier, near Lausanne, which has 19 out of 20 points in the GaultMillau guide and three Michelin stars.
The 43-year-old was the right hand man of previous head chef Benoît Violier, and took over the kitchen after Violier’s shock suicide in early 2016 shortly after the restaurant was named best in the world by La Liste.
Giovannini becomes the restaurant’s fourth head chef in a row to win the ‘chef of the year’ accolade from GaultMillau, after Frédy Girardet, Philippe Rochat and Violier before him.
In a statement, GaultMillau editor in chief Urs Heller said Giovannini “could have simplified his life and rested on the laurels of the past”. But instead “he works twice as hard to remain on a successful path and does it with panache”.
Speaking in a video on the guide’s website, Giovannini said “the aim wasn’t to succeed Benoît [Violier]. We were friends, we were around the same age, the idea was to continue together.
“To be named ‘chef of the year’ by GaultMillau is nearly unfathomable,” he said.
Virginie Basselot. Photo: GaultMillau
Basselot, named female chef of the year, is the executive chef at the Loti restaurant in La Réserve hotel in Geneva.
From Normandy in France, Basselot is one of only two female chef to have obtained the prestigious title ‘Meilleur ouvrier de France’, the gold star of the French food industry, said GaultMillau.
Also recognized in this year’s GaultMillau guide was Julien Duvernay from the Stücki restaurant in Basel, who was named pastry chef of the year.
Three others chefs – Sven Wassmer, Franck Reynaud and Simon Apothéloz – were named most promising of the year.
More than 800 restaurants were visited by 45 inspectors for this year’s Swiss edition, which includes 85 new entries.