Michel Richard

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Michel Richard
Born (1948-03-07)March 7, 1948
Pabu, France
Died August 13, 2016(2016-08-13) (aged 68)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Nationality French
Citizenship United States
Occupation Chef, painter, entrepreneur
Known for Citrus in Los Angeles, Citronelle and Central in Washington, D.C.

Michel Louis-Marie Richard (/mɪˈʃɛlrɪˈʃɑːrd/ mi-SHEL ri-SHARD; 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,[2] Brittany, France on March 7, 1948[3] and raised in Champagne. Needing to help his mother care for his siblings, he learned to cook. By age 14, Richard was working full time as an apprentice pâtissier at a hotel restaurant in Reims.[1] After completing his military service in the French Army, he was hired by French pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre to work at Maison Lenotre in Paris.[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 Michel moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to run the French Pastry Shop at La Fonda Hotel.[6][1] The Pastry Shop at La Fonda closed a year later, and by 1977, he had moved to Los Angeles and opened Michel Richard's Pastry Shop.

In 1986, Richard opened Citrus in West Hollywood.[1] In 1989, he opened Citronelle, in the Santa Barbara Inn Hotel, followed by satellites of Citrus in Baltimore, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Tokyo, all of which eventually closed.[7] In 1994, he opened Citronelle in The Latham Hotel in Georgetown. In 1997, Richard sold half of his interest in Citrus (Los Angeles) to the Meristar Corporation, who were also his partners in Citronelle.[1] Later, he opened a branch of Citronelle at Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, California. Ten years later, he opened Central in Washington D.C.[8][9]

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.[10]

Richard died at Sibley Hospital[11] in Washington, D.C. on August 13, 2016 from complications after a stroke.[12][13]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • The Best Restaurants in the United States - Travelers Magazine (1987) [14]
  • "Who's Who" in American Food and Wine - James Beard Foundation (1988) [15][14]
  • Chef of the Year (nominated) - James Beard Foundation (1996) [14]
  • Outstanding Restaurant - Five-Star Fleur de Lys Awards (1996) [14]
  • Top 20 Restaurants in the Country (Citronelle) - Gourmet Magazine (2001 and 2006) [14][15]
  • Member - Traditions & Qualité, Les Grandes Tables du Monde (2002) [15]
  • Best Fine Dining Restaurant and Chef of the Year, Best Chef of the Year - Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (2002) [14]
  • Member - Relais & Chateaux Organization (2003) [14]


  • 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 e 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. ^ Sietsema, Tom (March 25, 2007). "Michel Richard's Mass Appeal". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  4. ^ 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. He satisfied his military obligation by serving as a cook in the Army and then found work at a mediocre pastry shop in Paris. His luck turned when he was hired by the famed caterer and patissier Gaston Lenôtre, who sent him to New York in 1974 to open an American outpost, the Château France.
  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. ^ 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. ^ Staff (November 7, 2007). "Michel Richard's L.A. 'return' -- the straight scoop". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "10. Central Michel Richard". The New York Times. 2008-02-27. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Acclaimed chef Michel Richard dies at 68". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Award-Winning Chef Michel Richard Dies". NBC Washington. August 13, 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g "http://www.bocabacchanal.com/hall-of-fame/Michel-Richard.asp". www.bocabacchanal.com. Retrieved 2017-03-26. External link in |title= (help)
  15. ^ a b c "Chef Michel Richard". www.nga.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-26.

External links[edit]