Chef Michel Richard

Passion, Innovation and Acclaim

Michel Richard exemplifies the art of cuisine and a love of his profession.  His style is light, fresh and intelligent, full of witty presentations and texture.  Richard knew he wanted to be a chef when he got a glimpse of a restaurant kitchen at the age of eight.  “The white hats, aprons, and all of the food – I fell in love.”  From this point on, his gastronomic destiny was determined. 

A native of Brittany, France, at age 14 Michel moved to Champagne and apprenticed in a restaurant-run patisserie. Three years later, the bright lights and epicurean savoir-faire of Paris became Michel’s home while working at the esteemed pastry shop Gaston Lenotre.  In 1974 Lenotre came to the United States to open a patisserie and brought Michel with him. 

After a brief time working in Santa Fe, Michel traveled to the West Coast in 1977 to explore other opportunities.  He chose Los Angeles as his new home, attracted by the power and glamour the City of Angels had to offer.  In Los Angeles Michel opened his namesake restaurant – Michel Richard – with instant success.  Michel gained more expertise as he traveled back and forth to France eating and cooking in three star Michelin restaurants. 

In 1986 Michel opened Citrus, adapting his native French cuisine to the tastes of southern California.  Citrus put Michel on the culinary map as the pioneer of French / California gastronomy and in 1988 the prestigious James Beard Foundation inducted Michel into the “Who’s Who” of American Food and Wine.

After many years of great success in Los Angeles and expanding his business globally, Michel moved to Washington, DC where he launched his flagship restaurant, Michel Richard Citronelle.  In 2007 Central Michel Richard opened in downtown Washington, DC, and won the 2008 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the United States.

Michel's creativity can be seen in prestigious epicurean publications such as Food & Wine, Food Arts, Bon Appetit, and on the cover of the late great Gourmet.  He has been featured in the Washington Post, Washingtonian, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, among many others.  Michel’s restaurants hold top honors in the best American dining guides such as Gayot and Zagat and he has published three books, Home Cooking with a French Accent, Happy in the Kitchen, and Sweet Magic. 

Michel regularly appears at charitable events and food & wine festivals across the country,  has designed menus for the National Gallery of Art, and features dishes onboard Amtrak’s Acela First Class service. Constantly engaged in something new, look for Michel’s two new restaurants Pomme Palais and Villard Michel Richard opening later this month at The New York Palace.