Chef Lisa Giffen of Sauvage - Biography

Brooklyn, NY

September 2016

Adopted by a Midwestern couple working as contractors for the United States military, Lisa Giffen grew up in Germany and ate around Europe before ever stepping foot in a professional kitchen. Graduating college with a business degree, Giffen made her way to New York in 2003, working a job selling Sharpies during the day and moonlighting in restaurants. She quickly found the world of fine dining much more fulfilling than selling permanent markers and took a stage at Prune, which led to a job at Blue Hill. There she met Juan Cuevas, who she followed to restaurant Eighty One. From there, Giffen took a job at Daniel before landing at Alain Ducasse’s Adour, where she remained for three years, cooking classic French cuisine and working her way up to sous chef.

In the summer 2013, Giffen heard about an opening at Maxwell Britten’s Maison Premiere in Brooklyn. She joined the staff and, in just a year, took the helm of the kitchen. As executive chef, Giffen transformed the popular oyster and cocktail bar into a dining destination.

In 2016, Giffen opened Maison Premiere’s sister restaurant, Sauvage in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. There she’s melding European cafe traditions with a modern, producer-driven, vegetable-forward New York menu, encompassing influences from her 10-plus year career in New York City restaurants.