“If the Parisians want to come,” he added, “they can come.” But he’s doing nothing to overtly attract them. His focus is less on becoming an innkeeper than a brewer, a baker, and, above all, a producer of his own ingredients.
“I’m pretty sure that if you talk to any chef, they’re going to come up with the same sort of reason: having control over the produce,” he said of his motivations. But then he prevaricated: “Maybe I’m just becoming an old man and I want to be in the countryside. I think that’s probably it.”
Age aside (the father of three is just 36 years old), others may soon follow suit. Martin, notably, thinks that he, too, will eventually make his part-time move to the Loire more permanent.
“I think that, in time, we might be happier raising animals and making our products there,” he mused, “rather than being in Paris five days a week.”
The French capital’s love of local is certainly on the rise, with restaurateurs realising that tapping into the richness of the surrounding countryside has become an expectation rather than an exception for many Parisian diners. But watching Delling-Williams traipse across his land with young sons in tow, inviting them to smell fresh spring garlic and pull radishes from the soil, it’s perhaps no wonder that he’s not the only chef with greener pastures on the mind.
BBC.com’s World’s Table “smashes the kitchen ceiling” by changing the way the world thinks about food, through the past, present and future.
If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter called “The Essential List”. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.