Laurent Gras (chef)

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Laurent Gras
Born (1965-05-03) May 3, 1965 (age 50)
Antibes, France
Occupation Chef

Laurent Gras (born May 3, 1965 in Antibes, France) is a French-born chef currently living and working in the United States.

Gras' career began in his native France where he worked at several top Michelin-rated establishments, including: Lucas Carton, where he was chef de partie under Alain Senderens; Restaurant Guy Savoy, where he was chef de cuisine; Hotel de Paris Monaco, where he was chef de cuisine under Alain Ducasse; and Restaurant Alain Ducasse Paris, where he was the opening chef de cuisine.

In the United States[edit]

Gras’ American debut was in 1997 at Peacock Alley in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where, as Executive Chef, he received a three star review from Ruth Reichl of the New York Times.[1] He spent four successful years there before moving to San Francisco, where he was named the Executive Chef of the Fifth Floor. His work at the Fifth Floor was received with critical accolades including San Francisco Magazine’s Chef of the Year and Best New Restaurant 2002, Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef 2002,[2] and he was featured on the cover of Gourmet Magazine in 2003.[3]

Gras opened his first restaurant in Chicago, L2O, in May 2008.


In August 2012, Gras released his first cookbook as an interactive e-book published by Alta Editions. Laurent Gras: My Provence[4] includes dishes from Gras's early years growing up and working as a chef on the Côte d'Azur. The digital cookbook was co-written with Mitchell Davis and features step-by-step photos, instructional videos, and chef tips.[5] Laurent Gras: My Provence was awarded the 2013 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Judges Choice Cookbook Award and the New Media Award for Intriguing Use of Technology.[6]

Departure from L2O[edit]

In November 2010, Gras left L2O. In the same month, the newly published Michelin Guide for Chicago gave the restaurant three stars, its top rating.[7] Gras' departure seemed to many an overnight decision, but he and the owner of acclaimed Chicago restaurant L20, Richard Melman have had disagreements. "I love L2O and am very proud of everything we achieved there. But (owner) Rich Melman and I have always had different points of view on L2O. In July, we talked about changes he wanted to make, and for me, these changes would alter the character of L2O and ultimately make it a different experience. I let him know then that I would be leaving."[8] To this, Melman responded: "It doesn't surprise me," said Melman this afternoon. "I heard what he said, and I'm disappointed. But I absolutely did ask him to make some changes. I wanted to make the shabu-shabu better; I told him, 'I have this guy who makes the best shabu-shabu I've ever had; let's bring him in to see.' He was absolutely not open to that; he didn't want to have anybody show him anything.

"And there were issues with how he treated the front-of-the-house people; he was dismissive and not interested," Melman said. "And I told him, 'I want you to be much more open about these things.' I had a customer call me, upset, because he'd made a special request, and nothing outrageous, and he (Gras) refused."[9]


  1. ^ Reichl, Ruth (January 28, 1998). "Restaurants; A Fresh Act Invigorates an Old Room". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Best New Chefs 2002: Laurent Gras". Food & Wine Magazine. 2002. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Gras, Laurent and Mitchell Davis. Laurent Gras: My Provence. Alta Editions.
  5. ^ "Michelin-starred chef Laurent Gras releases first e-cookbook". Yahoo! News. August 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ IACP 2013 Winners List
  7. ^ Phil Vettel, "Alinea, L2O head list of Chicago's Michelin honorees with three star honors", The Stew (blog), Chicago Tribune, November 16, 2010,
  8. ^ "Laurent Gras makes it official, departs L2O; Melman lashes back". Chicago Tribune. November 17, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Laurent Gras makes it official, departs L2O; Melman lashes back". Chicago Tribune. November 17, 2010. 

External links[edit]