Rising Star Chef Bertrand Chemel of 2941 - Biography
Falls Church, VA
In an area of the country until recently confined to strip malls and burger joints, Chef Bertrand Chemel brings a welcome dose of Gallic flair at 2941. An Auvergne boy born-and-raised, it was no surprise, then, when Chemel fell into his first job in a kitchen. At 14, he found himself sweeping the flour from the floors of the bakery and pastry shop next to his grandmother’s house. An obsession was born.
He would soon be under the wing of renowned chef Michel Gaudin at his eponymous destination restaurant in Megève, France. The two fell in quickly and Gaudin became his mentor, sending Chemel to Geneva’s Hotel du Rhône for training. Aptly, this small nation known mostly for being neutral, and making nifty portable knives, would be that all-important exposure to international cuisines. He also spent time at La Bastide St-Antoine in Grasse, France, and at the Savoy Hotel in London.
If Gaudin was Chemel’s first mentor, Daniel Boulud was his stateside guru after his move to the US . It was from this master of French-cuisine-for-Americans that Chemel honed his culinary style. He began as a line cook in 1999 at Daniel and with a stop along the way as Laurent Tourondel’s sous chef at Cello, he eventually landed at Café Boulud in 2003.
The sleekly modern 2941 where Chemel has found his own resting spot is an astonishingly idyllic place where you have to avoid bumping into Rodin sculptures and Dalis in the herb garden where Chemel plucks his aromatics daily—an appropriate venue for the contemporary Gallic fare that he interprets through the lens of Americana, and Virginia’s bounty.