Phil Howard, co-owner of UNION restaurant in La Plagne, France, shares his “top-secret” recipe for the perfect crêpe…

Phil Howard – co-owner of UNION in La Plagne, France, and renowned chef – has shared his “top-secret” recipe for the perfect crêpe.

Howard built up his notorious reputation at The Square in Mayfair, London, which he owned for 25 years and secured two Michelin stars.

However, the self-professed part-time ski bum fell in love with La Plagne 14 years ago, bought a chalet in Plagne Montalbert, and then decided to open a restaurant…

To do so, Phil joined forces with his friend, Martin Cuchet, who runs the ski shop in Plagne Montalbert, and is a prominent figure in the community, to create a haven for ravenous skiers and food connoisseurs. Nestled in the heart of Plagne Montalbert, UNION opened in 2017 and has been a success story ever since.

Using local, high-quality produce, Phil creates delicious well-known dishes and inspiring culinary delights. Recommended dishes include daube of ox cheek with creamed potato, a double-baked Beaufort soufflé with a truffle emulsion, or for dessert, poached rhubarb with clementine. Main courses cost from €20 pp.

Alternatively, guests can spend a little more and give the tasting menu a go, which is a superb way of trying a bit of everything. The tasting menu costs from €75 pp (to be taken by the entire table).

However, with all restaurants in La Plagne, and further afield, unable to open due to the pandemic, Phil has decided to share his delectable recipe for crêpes so people can create a little bit of UNION’s magical cuisine at home.

Roll up those sleeves, pull on the apron, and take a look at his instructions below. Enjoy!

CREPES with caramelised hazelnuts and honey

Makes about 12 crêpes.

200g flour

25g sugar

4 eggs

3 yolks

500ml milk

100g butter

Zest of 2 oranges

100g peeled hazelnuts

150g castor sugar

100ml runny honey

250ml creme fraiche


Heat the butter over a medium heat until it is golden brown, foaming and smells of nuts. Tip into a small bowl leaving behind the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Whisk together the flour, sugar, eggs, yolks and orange zest with half the milk until smooth. Add the remaining milk and the beurre noisette and whisk to vigorously to combine. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes at 160 degrees C. Leave to cool. Place the sugar in a pan with 50ml water, bring to the boil and cook until you have a caramel. Add the hazelnuts, stir to coat them with the caramel and transfer onto parchment paper. Leave to cool and chop with a knife.

Cook the crêpes in a non-stick pan. Wipe the pan with a piece of kitchen paper dipped in oil between each crêpe.

Place the crêpes onto a plate, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with the caramelised nuts. Fold over and serve with some creme fraiche.

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