Chef François completed two years of study at the Culinary School of the Moulin a Vent in Perpignan, France. He has a lifetime of culinary experience working for hotels in France and the U.S., including Hotel Sofitel and Hotel Nikko. Francois was the chef owner of a southern French style restaurant as well as several Spanish tapas restaurants for 16 years before working at a conference center as the executive chef in St. Charles.
Defining Culinary Experience: “I lived next door to a gourmet hotel restaurant in the south of France as a teenager and worked there during the weekends. That experience is what prompted me to choose a culinary career. I loved the intriguing aromas and the great level of energy in the kitchen. It had a profound impact on me from very early on.”
Culinary Philosophy: “If you can nurture passion, focus on your perseverance and keep an open mind to new culinary horizons – you will succeed.”
Favorite Style of Food: “I love to prepare classical regional cuisine (French or Spanish), which has natural, clean flavors and includes minimalist cooking steps to preserve the true integrity of the ingredients.”
Top Chef: “I admire Mr Paul Bocuse. Although in his 80’s, he is still very much involved in the culinary scene.”
Proudest Career Moment: “When I was inducted into the Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1996.”