Michel Richard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Michel Richard
Born(1948-03-07)March 7, 1948
DiedAugust 13, 2016(2016-08-13) (aged 68)
NationalityFrench, American
CitizenshipUnited States
Occupation(s)Chef, painter, entrepreneur
Known forCitrus in Los Angeles and Citronelle and Central in Washington, D.C.

Michel Louis-Marie Richard (/mɪˈʃɛl rɪˈʃɑːrd/ mish-EL rish-ARD, French: [miʃɛl ʁiʃaʁ]; March 7, 1948 – August 13, 2016) was a French-born chef, formerly the owner of the restaurant Citrus in Los Angeles and Citronelle and Central in Washington, D.C. He has owned restaurants in Santa Barbara, Tokyo, Carmel, New York City, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C.[1]


Richard was born in Pabu, Brittany, France on March 7, 1948, and raised in Champagne.[2][3] Needing to help his mother care for his siblings, he learned to cook.[4] By age 14, Richard was working full-time as an apprentice pâtissier at a hotel restaurant in Reims.[1] After completing his military service as a cook in the French Army, he moved to Paris, where he was hired by French pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre at Maison Lenotre.[4]

In 1974, Lenôtre sent Richard to the United States to open Lenôtre's short-lived New York branch, Chateau France.[5] After 3 years, Chateau France closed, and Richard moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, becoming pastry chef for the French Pastry Shop at La Fonda Hotel.[6] In 1977, he was able to open the eponymous Michel Richard's Pastry Shop in Los Angeles.[3]

By 1986, Richard was L.A.'s most famous French pastry chef when he opened his first restaurant, Citrus in West Hollywood.[7] The success of Citrus led to opportunities to open more restaurants, including, in 1989, Citronelle in the Santa Barbara Inn Hotel, followed by satellites of Citrus in Baltimore, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Tokyo, all of which eventually closed.[8][9] In 1991, Richard was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of American Food.[10] By 1993, Richard had nine restaurants, after opening a Citronelle in Georgetown.[4]

In 1997, he sold half of his interest in Citrus (Los Angeles) to the Meristar Corporation, who were also his partners in Citronelle.[1] In 1998, he moved to Washington, D.C., renovating the Citronelle there and renaming it Michel Richard Citronelle, making it his flagship restaurant.[11] It would be his home-base until it closed in 2012.[3]

In 2003, Richard became a U.S. citizen.[12] He won the 2007 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef.[13]

In 2007, Richard opened a new restaurant, Central Michel Richard on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.,[14] and it won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant.[15] That year, he also opened Citrus at Social in Los Angeles and Citronelle at Carmel Valley Ranch.[8]

At 65, Richard opened a restaurant and bakery in the New York Palace hotel in 2013.[6] The restaurant closed within a year.[1]

On December 13, 2014, Michel was presented with the insignia of Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur and Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Merit by the Republic of France.[16]

Richard died at Sibley Hospital in Washington, D.C., on August 13, 2016, from complications after a stroke.[17] At the time of his death, the Pomme Palais bakery in New York and Central Michel Richard were his last two restaurants.[3]

Awards and honors[edit]


  • Michel Richard's Home Cooking with a French Accent, Morrow, NY (January 1, 1993) ASIN: B001XGZ1Q8
  • Happy in the Kitchen: The Craft of Cooking the Art of Eating, Artisan, (October 2006) ISBN 978-1-57965-299-9
  • Sweet Magic: Easy Recipes for Delectable Desserts, Ecco, (November 2010) ISBN 0-06-192821-6



  1. ^ a b c d Grimes, William (2016-08-15). "Michel Richard, Acclaimed Chef at Citronelle, Dies at 68". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  2. ^ "La Bretagne en bref : Mort du chef Michel Richard". Ouest-France. August 16, 2016. p. 12.
  3. ^ a b c d Schudel, Matt (August 13, 2016). "Michel Richard, innovative chef who made D.C. a capital of dining, dies at 68". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  4. ^ a b c Witt, April (August 20, 2006). "Mind Over Menu". Washington Post Magazine.
  5. ^ Katz, Basil (January 9, 2009). "Gaston Lenôtre, Who Built a Culinary Brand, Is Dead at 88". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  6. ^ a b Fabricant, Florence (2013-09-03). "At 65, Michel Richard Is Tackling the New York Dining Scene". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  7. ^ Reichl, Ruth (August 13, 2016). "Ruth Reichl's review of Michel Richard's original L.A. restaurant Citrus". Los Angeles Times. first published on March 22, 1987
  8. ^ a b Staff (November 7, 2007). "Michel Richard's L.A. 'return' -- the straight scoop". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  9. ^ a b Dresser, Michael (October 27, 1992). "Peabody Court gets new name 'Latham Hotel' also welcomes new chef". Baltimore Sun.
  10. ^ Reichl, Ruth (May 16, 1991). "Food Oscars : The James Beard Awards". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Burros, Marian (September 30, 1998). "Food's Ambassador to Washington; Michel Richard is so creative his mission may well succeed". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  12. ^ Weinraub, Judith (May 14, 2003). "The All-American French Chef". The Washington Post.
  13. ^ Hacinli, Cynthia (May 8, 2007). "Scenes From the James Beard Awards". Washingtonian Magazine.
  14. ^ Sietsema, Tom (March 25, 2007). "Michel Richard's Mass Appeal". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ Limpert, Ann (June 10, 2008). "Who Won Big at the James Beard Awards?". Washingtonian Magazine.
  16. ^ "Media/Press, News in Brief". Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. 2014-12-22. Archived from the original on 2015-09-20. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  17. ^ "Acclaimed chef Michel Richard dies at 68". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  18. ^ Tennison, Patricia (27 Oct 1988). "Who's Who Awards Go to the Top Contributors to Dining in '88". Chicago Tribune. p. 3.
  19. ^ a b c d e "James Beard Foundation: Michel Richard". James Beard Foundation. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  20. ^ a b c d "Biography: Chef Michel Richard". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 6 December 2018.

External links[edit]