Christian LE SQUER

Biography

Restaurant:

Christian LE SQUER

Christian Le Squer was born in Plouhinec on the 9th of October, 1962, at the Étel estuary on the Brittany coast. His father is a cabinetmaker, who imparted to him a livelong appreciation for artisanal know-how and dedication. At the age of 14 he embarked on his uncle's trawler where he worked in the galley and served the crew. Already having a penchant for good food, he was struck by the conviviality of these shared meals at sea. Cooking was deeply satisfying because of the inclusive social occasion it created.

Wavering between cooking and baking, he did an internship at a patisserie. But, by his own account, he became annoyed with having his hands constantly full of sugar. He worked weekends at a restaurant, washing dishes and shucking oysters then enrolled at the vocational college Jean Guéhenno in Vannes, where he obtained a CAP (Certificat d'Aptitude Professionnelle) and a BEP (Brevet d'Études Professionnelles) of culinary arts in 1986.

After working his way up in Parisian houses such as Le Divellec, Lucas Carton, Taillevent and The Ritz, Christian Le Squer got his first position as Chef at the Café de la Paix, located in the Grand Hotel Intercontinental in Paris. There, he had another formative experience that changed his life: His father in law came for a meal and told Le Squer afterwards that he had to change his cooking. Though well made the dishes lacked personality, creativity! It was, in Le Squer’s own words, like an electric shock. He had worked hard and absorbed every detail of his craft. Now was the time to free his own creativity, to become his own master. The result: he earned his first Michelin star in 1996 at the age of 34, adding a second in 1998.

In 1999, he took over the concession for the Pavillon Ledoyen, which belongs to the City of Paris. Located at the bottom of the Champs Elysées, the Ledoyen looks like a fairytale Parisian mansion, and it became a discreet hub for distinguished gourmets, with artisanal cooking at it’s best. One year after taking over, Le Squer confirmed his two-star rating there and in 2002 he even received a third, which he maintained for 12 years before passing the concession to Yannick Alleno.

In 2008, he opened a new restaurant: Etc (for Epicure Traditional Cuisine) in Paris, for which he obtained a star in the Michelin guide the following year, and in 2011, he opened La Grande Verrière at the Jardin d'Acclimatation near the Bois de Boulogne. All three establishments never failed to maintain their high standards, which is indicative of his dedication, energy and his managerial ability to uphold an exemplary regularity. In 2013, he joined the select group of chefs awarded "five toques" by the Gault et Millau guide.

He was established in Paris, with an untouchable pedigree, when he took on the challenge of revamping the kitchens of the Four Seasons Hotel George V, a true palace. With a daunting legacy and breathtaking décor, it offered what may be called “prestige cuisine” where the evaluation of a dish rests on the perceived nobility of its ingredients. Things had to be re-focused from ostentatious opulence to true taste, and a more contemporary culinary experience. Initially, there was instinctive managerial resistance to dishes, such as black-pudding-sausage, but Le Squer went on to impose his more sophisticated gastronomy, and with great success. “Le V,” which he took over in October 2014, was awarded two Michelin stars a year later. And again he received “five toques” by the Gault-Millau with a score of 19/20.

On February 1, 2016, “Le V” was crowned with a third Michelin star, and its two other restaurants were awarded one-star each, making the George V the first hotel in Europe to boast three starred establishments.

Christian Le Squer’s hard-working, inspired rise from serving deckhands on a trawler to decorated 3-star Executive Chef is a story of unparalleled success.

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