At the Historic Olde Marco Inn, 100 Palm Street, Marco Island.
Phone: 389-0981. Hours: Open: Dinner served 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; closed Sunday
Began working at present restaurant?
When we opened Bistro Soleil on Dec. 12, 2008
Who or what inspired you to become a chef/cook?
My brother was a chef and owned a restaurant in Metz, a French resort town near the German border – so I guess you could say I started in the family business. Later I received my culinary degree at the Nancy Culinary School and interned at local restaurants. From there I worked at upscale European restaurants until 1984 when I was recruited by the Club Med Resorts organization and worked there 4½ years a sous chef — that’s where I met my wife Lisa. Subsequently, we moved to Chicago and I worked there 5½ years until 1992 when I became employed as executive chef in Little Dix Bay Resort then Caneel Bay Resort followed by a few years in Ireland. Then we moved back to the States and settled in Marco Island and opened the Island Café.
What was your first restaurant job?
My brother’s restaurant in Metz, France.
How long have you been cooking professionally?
Since I was a teenager, give or take 28 years.
Do food trends affect your cooking style?
In Europe everything was cooked from scratch with the freshest ingredients, and I’ve always thought that was best way.
Are you planning changes to your menu for the new season?
Yes, we try to keep seasonal. You know, the local seafood has its seasons and so does the produce. We are very aware of this and keep our menu au courant. Incidentally, Bistro Soleil will be open Easter Sunday and serve a buffet in keeping with the season.
What is your most popular dish?
Black grouper prepared any way when it’s available, but many of my customers come back for my Chilean sea bass – it’s my nightly special — a nice thick fillet stuffed with blue crab in a nice lemon caper butter sauce served with our potato du jour and fresh vegetable mélange.
What is your favorite wine?
Dry rose because it goes with meat or seafood — it’s a lovely accompaniment to any food.
Do you cook at home?
If so, what would we always find in your freezer? Not a lot during season, but in the summertime I make something special that takes time to prepare.
What is your secret ingredient?
What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
If I wasn’t a chef I would be the president of France or president of General Motors. That’s why I’m content to be a chef.
What annoys you most in the kitchen?
Lack of focus.
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
The contact with the people — everyone likes to be appreciated.