5 Top Chefs Who Started in France
Before we celebrate the Good France event in March, we take a look at chefs who learned their skills in France.
In its second year running, French cuisine will be celebrated the world over. It will bring over 1,500 chefs from five continents as they whip up some of France’s best cuisine while showcasing its gastronomic traditions. The chefs will be dishing up a traditional French menu with courses such as aperitif, starter, main course, cheese and dessert, accompanied by fine French wines. Before we join in the celebrations with the rest of the world on March 21, we thought we would take a look at five of the world’s top chefs who picked up the tools of the trade in France.
A big name in New York City’s French food scene, American chef Bouley is on of the most respected chefs in the city’s French food scene. Inspired by his visits to France and Europe, the chef has fashioned his own take on contemporary French food. His flagship restaurant Bouley, in the hip TriBeCa neighborhood of New York City (USA), has even been crowned with a Michelin star. The chef studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and worked alongside legendary masters of French cuisine like Paul Bocuse and Gaston Lenôtre.
The Scottish chef and media personality has united age-old rivals Britain and France in his own culinary entente cordiale. It’s certainly no coincidence that the charismatic chef heads up some of the finest restaurants in the land of frogs’ legs and snails (the Trianon Palace in Versailles, Le Pressoir d’Argent in Bordeaux). After giving up an early career as a footballer, Gordon Ramsay set about learning the secrets of French cuisine under industry heavyweight Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in London. The Scottish chef then completed his training in France, working with Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon.
This American chef has always been a Francophile foodie. He serves up fine fare at his flagship restaurant in California, called The French Laundry, and his New York restaurant Per Se is recognized as one of the best in the world, coming second in “La Liste,” the French Foreign Ministry’s response to the London-based “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, unveiled last December. He’s the only American chef to hold three-star Michelin ratings for different restaurants simultaneously, placing him in the same league as Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon. Keller went to work in France in 1983, learning his trade in various high-end establishments, including Guy Savoy and Taillevent. The chef was even awarded France’s Legion of Honor (Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur) and was chief consultant on Pixar’s animated movie “Ratatouille.”
This Taiwanese chef is on his way to becoming a global restauranteur, building the foundations of an international gastronomic empire. He has a particularly close relationship with France after learning his skills under the Pourcel twins – Jacques and Laurent – at their Michelin-starred Montpellier restaurant Le Jardin des Sens. André Chiang first learned to cook alongside his mother before heading to France to discover the secrets of the country’s cuisine. He ended up staying for 15 years, with stints working under Pierre Gagnaire and Joël Robuchon. Today, he’s considered one of the best chefs in the world, particularly for his André restaurant in Singapore.
Shuzo Kishida is one of a new generation of Japanese chefs learning their trade in France and keeping close ties with the country. Born in the region of Chubu, on the south coast of Honshu island, the chef learned the basics of French cuisine in 1993, working in French restaurant La Mer in a Japanese hotel. Before heading to France, he also did a stint at KM in Tokyo’s famous Shibuya district. After moving 10,000km away from his native Japan, Shuzo Kishida racked up experience in one Michelin-starred restaurant after another, before settling down to a longer spell at L’Astrance under Pascal Barbot. By 2004, he had worked his way up to sous-chef — the second in command — at the triple Michelin-starred establishment. In November 2005, he returned to Japan, maintaining the culinary skills and traditions picked up at L’Astrance to open Quintessence, a restaurant that would take him even further along the road to success with his own three-star Michelin rating.
The full list of restaurants participating in Goût de France/Good France on March 21 is available at www.goodfrance.com. To take part in the event, food lovers can simply make a booking directly at the restaurant of their choice.