Chef Pierre Gagnaire of Pierre Gagnaire - Biography

Paris, France

April 2010

Pierre Gagnaire was born in Apinac, France in 1950. The son of restaurant owners, he began his career as an apprentice learning the fundamentals of traditional cuisine in Lyon. In 1974, the young chef discovered the world of creative cuisine when working with Chef Alain Sendernes at Lucas Carton in Paris. It was the beginning of a new era and a new way of looking at food for Gagnaire.

After two years roving the world, particularly the New World, Gagnaire returned to his family restaurant, Le Clos Fleury, near Saint Etienne and took over the kitchen. It was 1976 and Gagnaire earned his first Michelin star. He decided to go solo in 1981 and opened his first restaurant in Saint Etienne; he received two Michelin stars. Gagnaire opened his second restaurant in 1992 and soon earned three Michelin stars for his signature cuisine. But the Saint Etienne restaurants weren’t meant to be; in 1996, Gagnaire went bankrupt and left Saint Etienne for Paris.

With the support of friends, Gagnaire opened a new restaurant in 1996 in Paris and within two years regained his three-star status. Gagnaire has since opened multiple restaurants worldwide, in cities such as London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Dubai, and now Las Vegas, and is revered for his ability to maintain impeccable standards at so many restaurants scattered across the globe.

However, Gagnaire hasn't garnered such high esteem from the culinary world solely for being a brilliant restaurateur. Gagnaire was one of the first chefs to embrace the idea of food as art—like a painter, he marks his culinary “eras” by dish and year. Constant evolution has allowed Gagnaire to stay at the forefront of the international culinary scene and remain relevant in an ever-changing world.

Gagnaire’s collaboration with French chemist and professor Hervé This (a founding father of molecular gastronomy) has pushed the chef to greater heights and spawned two cookbooks, including La Cuisine c'est de l'Amour, de l'Art, de la Technique published in 2006 and Alchimistes au Fourneaux in 2007. Gagnaire’s other books include Sucre-Sale (2002) and Lucide & Ludique (2007).