From the Bearded Lady to the youngest generation
La Matelote has been representing the Lestienne family for 40 years. The family are the soul of this establishment which they cultivate and develop, and where the art of hospitality is practised by a dream team.
Tony Lestienne – a Boulogne-sur-Mer local
In Boulogne for several generations, Tony Lestienne’s father was from a family of sweet makers, while his mother’s family were in the fish business. Less enticed by school than he was fascinated by the action in the kitchen, he joined the Tournai hotel and cookery school at the age of 14, before doing his apprenticeship in Arras, Paris and Spain. He opened La Matelote in April 1979. The Guide Michelin awarded him with a star in 1982 and he has kept it ever since.
A family affair
Tony Lestienne received the strong support of his wife, Régine when he launched himself into La Matelote venture 40 years ago. His son, Stellio has joined him to inject new energy into the development of the Boulogne-sur-mer institution. Stellio focuses on the catering service which is going from strength to strength.
A tightly knit team
La Matelote has grown thanks to a tightly knit team around a chef who did his utmost to convey his passion and share his vision for his profession. In the kitchen, in the dining room or in the hotel: Christophe, Arnaud, Julien, Jean-Luc, Alain, Audrey, William and Sandy have each made their own contribution to this establishment with family values.
Who is the Bearded Lady?
Clémence Lestienne, the great-great-great-grandmother of the chef is a local figure.
Born in Fustebert in the north-western Pas-de-Calais department of France, she was already renowned for her gingerbread when she was just 16. She sold her wares in the fairs and markets travelling around in a caravan, from Dunkirk to Lille, via Roubaix and Saint-Omer. But she was most famous for her abundant beard. She died at a fair in 1919 at the age of 85. Today, her portrait has pride of place in the dining room of the restaurant.