Laurent Gras was born and raised in Antibes on the Côte d’Azur in France, in a family and culture that was very food oriented. All this combined to give him an appreciation for the freshest ingredients and simplicity.
At age 15, Gras intended to enter a mathematics university. On a lark, he took the entrance exam to hotel school and passed. His early resume is a formidable list of Michelin stars: Jacques Maximin, Alain Senderens, Guy Savoy, and Alain Ducasse.
After achieving three Michelin stars at the Louis XV in Monte-Carlo as chef de cuisine, he moved north to open Alain Ducasse Paris as chef de cuisine. After six months and a new three-star Michelin review, Gras decided it was time to find his own restaurant.
Gras arrived in New York City in 1997 at the Waldorf Astoria's Peacock Alley. He felt the city “gave me a greater freedom of expression on the plate, the opportunity to be involved in my industry, all things that do not really exist for a chef in France.” He went west to the Fifth Floor restaurant in San Francisco in 2001.
In 2007 Gras had the opportunity design his own restaurant from the ground up. He moved to Chicago to open L2O, which promptly earned three Michelin stars in the first Chicago edition of the guidebook in 2011.
Six-months prior to the opening of the restaurant Gras revealed the inner-workings of his creativity with his L2O Blog. It documented everything from recipe development to ingredients and equipment. The blog garnered a global audience, including colleagues and media.
He published Laurent Gras: My Provence (Alta Editions 2012), an innovative online cookbook that won two IACP awards: Judges Choice and New Media.
A new endeavor, Laurent Gras Consulting, offers clients around the globe his expertise in everything from concepts to menu development, and kitchen design to staff training.
Gras is recognized as one of the most talented chefs cooking today, known for a personal and innovative cuisine. He has been “Best New Chef” from Food & Wine Magazine to San Francisco Magazine. His eateries are “Best New Restaurant” from Esquire Magazine to the James Beard Foundation to CS Magazine. Echoes of the same sentiment come from his colleagues, like chef David Chang who wrote, “Gras is, I think, ounce-for-ounce the best cook in the world.”
Laurent Gras Consulting
Complete restaurant consulting services: from concept and kitchen design, to menu and recipe development, though to staff training and opening. From 2011 - Present
L2O (*** Michelin Guide Chicago 2011)
Belden Straford Hotel, Chicago, IL Executive Chef/Partner from 7.1.05 – 11.03.10
Fifth Floor (**** San Francisco magazine)
Palomar Hotel, San Francisco, CA Executive Chef from 11.17.01 – 11 30 04
Restaurant Peacock Alley (*** New York Times)
Warldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, NY Executive Chef from 8.18.97 – 9.18.01
Restaurant Alain Ducasse (*** Michelin Guide Paris 1997)
SNC Le Parc, Paris, France, Executive Chef from 7.1.96 - 8.13.98
Louis XV (*** Michelin Guide Monaco-France 1993)
2 Place du casino, Monte-Carlo, Monaco Executive Chef from 2.1.92 - 3.11.96
Guy Savoy (*** Michelin Guide Paris)
17, rue Troyon, Paris, France Chef de Cuisine from 11.12.90 - 1.31.92