Chef Christian Delouvrier will hang up his toque tomorrow, capping a career that stretches back to Paris in 1963. But it was on these shores that the French born chef truly made his mark with string of successful restaurants that included Maurice (1981-1989) and Les Celebrites (1991-1998), both of which garnered three stars from the NY Times. His greatest acclaim came at Lespinasse (1998-2003) where he was awarded four stars, a feat made all the harder by the fact that he had to fill Gray Kunz's clogs.
A brief stint with Alain Ducasse at Essex House after the abrupt closure of Lespinasse was followed by several years cooking on Florida before return to NYC to work for David Bouley. In 2009 he assumed the position of executive chef La Mangeoire, the restaurant from which he will retire from tomorrow. La Mangeoire did not get the attention of his prior efforts, going unreviewed by the NY Times, but nevertheless his legacy is firmly established. "He is a bad ass chef" says Shane McBride, the executive chef at Cherche Midi and Balthazar, who worked under him at Lespinasse, "I consider him my true mentor." Those with a taste for old school French restaurants and classic bistro fare may want to pay a visit now, while Delouvrier is still at the stove.