—by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural
On the same day, acclaimed and beloved superchef Jean-Georges Vongerichten launched two restaurants–Jean-Georges Beverly Hills and the Rooftop Lounge by Jean-Georges–as well as in-room dining at this opulent Art Deco space. Vongerichten was more than delighted to relocate to LA from New York, saying, “Most of my ingredients eight months during the year come from LA. This is our garden, and I’m coming to the source. . . .The ethnicity of the food here is fantastic!”
About a third of Vongerichten’s restaurant offerings are vegetarian, using almost all organic and sustainable California fruits, vegetables, and seafood. The rooftop has a juice bar and vibrant menu of multicultural bites.
At the age of 60 Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the world’s most famous chefs responsible for the operation and success of a constellation of three and four star restaurants worldwide. He has made culinary history and developed a reputation as remarkable as his food by tapping his deep understanding of the restaurant world and pairing it with his forward-thinking vision.
Born and raised on the outskirts of Strasbourg in Alsace, Vongerichten apprenticed with Paul Haeberlin and Paul Bocuse prior to working under master chef Louis Outhier at L’Oasis in southern France. With this impressive three-star Michelin background, Jean-Georges traveled to Asia and continued his training at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok; the Meridien Hotel in Singapore; and the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong.
In 1985 Vongerichten arrived in the United States under the auspices of Louis Outhier, opening the Le Marquis de Lafayette restaurant in Boston. A year later he arrived in New York to take over the Executive Chef position at Lafayette in the Drake Swissôtel, earning four stars from THE NEW YORK TIMES at the age of 29.
The eclectic flair of Jean-George Vongerichten’s globally inspired offerings has won him wide praise around the world. In 1991 he and financier Phil Suarez opened a bistro, JoJo, which was named Best New Restaurant of the Year and earned three stars from THE NEW YORK TIMES. The food took the breath away from diners and critics alike!
In March 1997, Vongerichten opened Jean-Georges Restaurant in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, earning a four-star review from THE NEW YORK TIMES less than three months after opening and the “Chef of the Year Award” from ESQUIRE. In September 1997, he opened Vong in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, which Robb Report gave the “Best Restaurant in the World” award in 1998.
In June 2009 Vongerichten catered a dinner party at the home of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Guests included New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former US President Bill Clinton.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten has published several cookbooks reflecting his influential style of cooking, including SIMPLE CUISINE (Wiley, 1990); COOKING AT HOME WITH A FOUR STAR CHEF (Broadway Books, 1998), for which he won the Best Cookbook Award from the James Beard Foundation in 1999; and SIMPLE TO SPECTACULAR (Broadway Books, 2000).
In October 2007, Vongerichten released ASIAN FLAVORS OF JEAN-GEORGES that features beloved recipes from his restaurants Spice Market, Vong, and 66. Most recently, he released HOME COOKING WITH JEAN-GEORGES: MY FAVORITE SIMPLE RECIPES (Clarkson Potter, 2011).
Jean-Georges is involved in every aspect of his restaurants – concept, menu, architectural design, staff selection and trainings – in an ongoing effort to create restaurants that are both timely and enduring. Inspired by his travels, he is constantly developing fresh concepts and evolving as a chef and restaurateur, both adapting to and impacting the global culinary landscape.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten has appeared on LIVE! WITH REGIS AND KELLY, THE TODAY SHOW, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, THE MARTHA STEWART SHOW, THE EARLY SHOW ON CBS, TOP CHEF, and THE FOOD NETWORK as well as on the 1995 series IN JULIA’S KITCHEN WITH MASTER CHEFS and Sundance’s ICONOCLASTS with Hugh Jackman.
Additions since then include NBC’s LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON and GOOD DAY CAFE. He also co-hosts his wife Marja’s PBS series, KIMCHI CHRONICLES.
Marja Vongerichten is an adoptee of African-American and Korean descent born in Uijeongbu on the outskirts of Seoul whose KIMCHI CHRONICLES was designed as part travelogue, part food narrative, and part documentary of self-discovery. Marja serves up both Korean cuisine and culture with style while telling her own unique life story throughout the series.
Each episode of KIMCHI CHRONICLES begins in Korea, where Marja, Jean-Georges, their daughter Chloe, and special celebrity guests such as Heather Graham and Hugh Jackman travel to different areas of Korea and taste their local foods. All then return to New York where they recreate Korean recipes specifically tailored for a modern American kitchen. Episodes cover different categories of food such as meats, seafood, soups, and noodles, providing a comprehensive overview of Korean food.
This innovative show was sponsored by the Visit Korea Committee, Korean Food Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The production company for the show was Frappé, Inc. A companion cookbook was released by Rodale Books in 2011.
THT warmly welcomes Jean-Georges and Marja Vongerichten to LA and cannot wait to review their many creative productions! Read more about this remarkable pair on their respective sites: