Wednesday, November 01, 2006

'Millionaire chef' of French tabloids saunters in to chef orgy at Half Moon Bay

The Ritz-Carlton concentrated a remarkable number of San Francisco four-star chefs at its Half Moon Bay hotel last weekend. But the most remarkable culinary star was apparently off the radar screen, at least until he was caught on film by blogger Chez Pim, who attended as "arm candy" of a South Bay chef (the name of his restaurant rhymes with "Manresa"):

Commanding the attention of the whole table was an older, slightly unkempt man in a track suit, speaking rather loudly in French while the others listened rapturously ... diners flew their private planes in to visit his dining room. He was also arguably the first celebrity chef in the US. Hubert Keller told me how he, as a young man, was inspired by a story about this mystery chef in the French tabloid Paris Match, posing with his collection of rare watches and sports cars with a headline "Millionaire Chef".

The mystery man: Jean Banchet of Le Francais in Wheeling, Illinois outside of Chicago, maybe the first French chef to open a serious U.S. restaurant, maybe the first celebrity chef ever, alleged inventor of food itself.

Seriously, though, you have to hand it to Banchet for entering such a food-rich environment despite wrestling with diabetes.

Pim has the full rundown, including the all-important photo of the man himself.



Pim said...

You've got to work on your rhymes, Ryan.


November 03, 2006 10:09 AM  
Ryan said...

Hey, _you_ try rhyming Manresa in English...

November 03, 2006 12:54 PM  

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