Chef Bios: Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Jean-George Vongerichten is known for his vast empire of high-end restaurants (21 and counting) and for making French cuisine more approachable to the masses.

Born and raised in the Alsace region of France, Vongerichten spent his childhood surrounded by his family's coal company. His passion for cooking was first fostered by his mother and grandmother. At 16, Vongeritchten enrolled at a hotel school in Strasbourg, where he spent half of his week studying and the other half working in a restaurant. During this program Vongerichten began working at Auberge de L'ill, one of only 10 three-star restaurants in France at the time. He trained under Chef Paul Haeberlin and stayed on as an apprentice for three years before embarking on stints at restaurants under esteemed chefs Louis Outhier and Paul Bocuse.

In 1980, Louis Outhier tapped Vongerichten to work for him in Bangkok, Thailand. It was while in Thailand that Vongerichten developed his affinity for Southeast Asian cuisines. After spending time in Singapore, England, and Portugal, Vongerichten moved to the United States to work at the Swisshotel in Boston for one year.

Vongerichten's next move was to New York City, where he worked at Lafayette Restaurant in The Drake Hotel. After meeting his future partners, Bob Giraldi and Phil Suarez while he was still at Lafayette, the trio opened JoJo, Vong, and Lipstick Café in New York. In 1997, Vongerichten and his partners opened Jean-Georges in the Trump International Tower. Jean-Georges would go on to receive three stars from the Michelin Guide, four stars from The New York Times, and the award for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation. Vongerichten has published six books, including two with Mark Bittman.


Born: 1956
Restaurants: Jean Georges, Terrace at Jean Georges, Nougatine at Jean Georges, Masugen, Mercer Kitchen, Perry St, Spice Market, Market by Jean Georges, JoJo, Market, Jean Georges Shanghai, Café Martinique, Prime Steakhouse, ABC Kitchen, Lagoon, Dune, Kauai Grill, J&G Grill, J&G Steakhouse, The Mark by Jean Georges
Culinary Style: Modern French

Jean-Georges is a collector of vintage toasters. There are more than 20 models in his collection.