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robert brown

Guy Gateau, Maitre Cuisinier de France

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Guy Gateau, our guest for a roundtable discussion and Q&A, has had an extraordinary variety of experiences in the highest echelons of cuisine. In a culinary career spanning two continents and more than 35 years, Guy has been a chef de cuisine for diplomats, kings and their royal palaces, the prestigious hostellerie alliance Leading Hotels of the World, bistro owners, world-famous chefs and restaurateurs; he has been chef-patron of two restaurants, a culinary teacher, and a restaurant/hotel consultant. Guy has seen it all: the birth of the food boom; the vastly changing cooking and restaurant phenomena; and the shifting cross-cultural culinary winds on both sides of the Atlantic. He is also one of only 337 Maitres Cuisiniers de France, a title which instantly identifies him as a first-class chef.

Born and raised in the famous Loire Valley wine town of Sancerre, Guy Gateau sought a profession that "made people happy." His father found him an apprenticeship with Henri Trottier, one of the first Maitres Cuisiniers de France, who had a nearby restaurant. Guy then went to Paris to work as chef de cuisine for Guy Girard, owner of the remarkable Paris bistro Le Petit Coin de la Bourse. He left to take charge of the kitchens of the Canadian Embassy in Moscow where procuring good produce was a constant challenge. This preceded seven years (1973-1980) as chef de cuisine for the great Alain Chapel, making some of the most famous dishes in the history of modern cuisine. Guy then had his own restaurant in Vichy, and was well on his way to obtaining a Michelin star there. However in 1983 he found it impossible to turn down an offer from the American construction tycoon Theodore Gould to go to Miami where he established the highly successful restaurant The Pavillon Grill, in the Pavillon Hotel (now the Miami InterContinental).

The US capital beckoned next with an offer from master restaurant showman Warner Leroy to head the kitchen of the Potomac Restaurant. Some two years later, after a dispute between Mr. Leroy and the landlord, the restaurant closed and Guy set off to New York and the Ritz Carlton on Central Park. After a year's consulting on this project, Guy returned to Virginia and opened his restaurant Maison Gateau in Occoquan. He and his wife then returned to France so that their son could receive a French education. After a four-year partnership in Lyon with Jean-Paul Lacombe's bistro collection, Guy moved his family to Provence where he continues his active international culinary consulting and his association with the Universite du Vin in the Rhone Valley where he teaches cooking to both amateurs and professionals.

Guy recently wrote an essay for The Daily Gullet on the evolution of modern gastronomy. We are proud to welcome our first Maitre Cuisinier de France to eGullet. We hope you will participate in the Q&A that follows this roundtable discussion.

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