Chef Guy Martin of Le Grand Véfour - Biography

Paris, France

November 2010

Nothing predisposed Guy Martin to become one of the world's best French chefs. No family history. No special inclination. When he was a kid, he dreamed of being a doctor or a rock musician. He studied cuisine not for the art of it, but just to be with his musician friends. He was first trained in a pizzeria ... far from a prestigious establishment. But it was in this local Italian restaurant where he started the intense on-the-job training that would bring him to the top of French gastronomy some 20 years later.

From 1981 to 1991, he was employed as a chef for Relais & Châteaux. He worked for three years at the Château de Coudrée on Lake Geneva, then for eight years at Château de Divonne as chef and manager, where he was awarded his first Michelin star in 1985, and five years later his second.

In November 1991, Claude Taittinger offered him the position of chef and manager of Grand Véfour. Seduced by the beauty and the rich history of the restaurant nestled in the gardens of Le Palais Royal, Martin decided to leave his home in Savoie for Paris. Then came the awards, one after another, year after year.

In 1992, he was honored with the Fourneau d’Or de la Gastronomie Française. The year after, he received the highest ranking in France’s Champérard Guide and won the "Atmosphere" Prize. In 1994, he was elected "Young Chef of the Year" by the Champérard Guide, and in 1995, "Best Chef of the Year" by the Pudlowski Guide. In 1996 and 1999, he was recognized as "Best European Chef" by the Greek magazine Status, in 1997, "Best European Chef" of the Year in Portugal, in 1999, "Best Chef of the Year" by the Gault-Millau Guide with a 19 out of 20 rating and in 2000, "Best Chef of the Year" by the Champérard Guide. Plus, he was honored with three Michelin stars by The Red Michelin Guide 2000.

Still dedicated to Le Grand Vefour, Martin opened Sensing in Paris, in October of 2006, where his menu creates a perfect balance between texture and flavor. In January of 2009, he opened his first restaurant in the United States, Sensing, at the Boston's Fairmont Battery Wharf. The concept of the restaurant from the menu to the décor was derived from Sensing in Paris.

Such an abundance of activity has earned Martin accolades in equal measure. In 1994, he became the administrator of Grand Véfour, and then a year later, he was promoted to President. That same year, he was appointed counselor to the President of the French High-Gastronomy Chamber. In 1997, he received a literary prize for his book "Gourmand Recipes" and he was made "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" (a highly prestigious distinction) by the French Minister of Culture, Philippe Douste-Blazy. Martin has received many notable achievements and awards including France's World Master of Culinary Meilleur Chef de Cuisine in 2001 and Gault et Millau's Best Chef of the Year in 2003. Martin has published more than a dozen cookbooks including: Les Recettes Gourmandes de Guy Martin (1996); Un artiste au Grand Véfour (2000); Contes et Recettes (2003); Dictionnaire des Mots de la Cuisine (2006); and Gourmands de Père en Fils (2006).