It’s part emblematic, part historic and utterly unique: Eric Frechon’s story is the amazing adventure of one of the world’s most admired and respected chefs. It’s a story of passion, uncompromising standards, excellence and a personal blend of greatness and modesty. After shining for 25 years at the pinnacle of the gastronomic universe at Le Bristol Paris, where he kept his 3 Michelin stars for 15 years running, Eric Frechon was at the height of his fame when he chose to move on and explore new territories. Not something you see often.

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Eric Frechon

Eric Frechon

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It’s part emblematic, part historic and utterly unique: Eric Frechon’s story is the amazing adventure of one of the world’s most admired and respected chefs. It’s a story of passion, uncompromising standards, excellence and a personal blend of greatness and modesty. After shining for 25 years at the pinnacle of the gastronomic universe at Le Bristol Paris, where he kept his 3 Michelin stars for 15 years running, Eric Frechon was at the height of his fame when he chose to move on and explore new territories. Not something you see often.

“In life, you get nothing by chance”

His journey to stardom, which took him from Normandy to unsuspected faraway horizons, started with a racing bicycle he daydreamt about when he was 13. He asked his parents for it and his father suggested he could work in a seaside restaurant for the summer to buy it. He did and had an epiphany. After spending his holiday shucking shellfish, he attended the École Hôtelière in Rouen, graduated with honours and moved to Paris to work as a kitchen hand at La Grande Cascade. The rest is culinary history. He poured his heart and soul into his work in the kitchens of Paris’s most reputed establishments – Le Taillevent, La Tour d’Argent and the Crillon hotel’s Les Ambassadeurs included. He took on new challenges, winning a Meilleur Ouvrier de France title in 1993 then opening his own restaurant, La Verrière d’Eric Frechon, the following year. He took over Le Bristol Paris’s kitchens in 1999 and the quarter-century-long love affair that followed is in all likelihood unprecedented. The hotel’s gastronomic restaurant, Epicure, earned its third Michelin star in 2009 and was named the world’s best restaurant three times in a row; its brasserie, 114 Faubourg, earned its first star in 2014.

“In life, you get nothing by chance”

His journey to stardom, which took him from Normandy to unsuspected faraway horizons, started with a racing bicycle he daydreamt about when he was 13. He asked his parents for it and his father suggested he could work in a seaside restaurant for the summer to buy it. He did and had an epiphany. After spending his holiday shucking shellfish, he attended the École Hôtelière in Rouen, graduated with honours and moved to Paris to work as a kitchen hand at La Grande Cascade. The rest is culinary history. He poured his heart and soul into his work in the kitchens of Paris’s most reputed establishments – Le Taillevent, La Tour d’Argent and the Crillon hotel’s Les Ambassadeurs included. He took on new challenges, winning a Meilleur Ouvrier de France title in 1993 then opening his own restaurant, La Verrière d’Eric Frechon, the following year. He took over Le Bristol Paris’s kitchens in 1999 and the quarter-century-long love affair that followed is in all likelihood unprecedented. The hotel’s gastronomic restaurant, Epicure, earned its third Michelin star in 2009 and was named the world’s best restaurant three times in a row; its brasserie, 114 Faubourg, earned its first star in 2014.

When you keep your coveted 3-star Michelin rating for a decade and a half, it takes a mixture of guts and nobility to walk away. In 2024, the countless heartwarming memories notwithstanding, he decided to draw a line under the extraordinary team adventure that had propelled him to the summits. No chef before him had spent 25 years in the same palace, none had dared to take a step aside at the top. But he felt the time was right for new challenges, as a family man and a businessman. Because this epicure is also an entrepreneur: he owns Lazare, the brasserie at Saint-Lazare train station, and a consultancy. His conversations over the years have led to exciting partnerships that have endured – the long term is his favourite kind of term – including Le Drugstore Publicis, Groupe Annie Famose and Royal Mansour. He sees them as playing fields where he can unleash every facet of his talent to help his partners thrive.

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Always know how to challenge yourself

“The cuisine philosophy”

During his 15 uninterrupted years at the zenith, Eric Frechon fine-tuned his style through steady work and by staying true to himself. It is French, contemporary, tasty, generous, crystal-clear and all about produce. He has long been acclaimed for his spot-on seasoning and pitch-perfect cooking as much as his creative audacity. Now his name is associated with emblematic dishes including Macaroni stuffed with artichoke, black truffle and foie gras cooked au gratin with old parmesan; Whole leek grilled with algae butter, Perle-Blanche oyster tartare, spring onions and lemon, or Caviar de Sologne with haddock-smoked fingerling potato mousseline.

“The cuisine philosophy”

During his 15 uninterrupted years at the zenith, Eric Frechon fine-tuned his style through steady work and by staying true to himself. It is French, contemporary, tasty, generous, crystal-clear and all about produce. He has long been acclaimed for his spot-on seasoning and pitch-perfect cooking as much as his creative audacity. Now his name is associated with emblematic dishes including Macaroni stuffed with artichoke, black truffle and foie gras cooked au gratin with old parmesan; Whole leek grilled with algae butter, Perle-Blanche oyster tartare, spring onions and lemon, or Caviar de Sologne with haddock-smoked fingerling potato mousseline.

A relentless perfectionist, Eric Frechon is unyielding on excellence. And excellence starts with the right soils and skills. A dish will only be flawless if every link in the supply chain is flawless. Accordingly, he set up Les Ateliers du Bristol with the hotel’s management to source artisanal ingredients locally – very locally in fact: the Atelier Boulangerie, for instance, has its own flour mill inside the hotel (which is a first). Following the same principle, he also started a Chocolaterie, a Cave à Fromages and Pastificio, a pasta-making atelier.

"Great cuisine takes great produce"

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“A chef who shines in every circle”

There is something liberating about consummate flair – in cuisine as much as any other endeavour. Eric Frechon’s virtuosity has opened up countless possibilities and he is one of the very few chefs who can effortlessly and knowledgeably adapt to a wide variety of universes ranging from bistros to brasseries and on to mountain and Mediterranean restaurants. He enjoys tinkering with his eminently personal takes on hamburgers, club sandwiches, Caesar salads and even ham sandwiches (his was incidentally voted the best in Paris). His desire to share fantastic flavours is constantly pointing him towards new adventures. His extensive expertise, combined with his unfailing consistency, explain much of the success that the restaurants at Le Bristol Paris enjoyed for 25 years.

“A chef who shines in every circle”

There is something liberating about consummate flair – in cuisine as much as any other endeavour. Eric Frechon’s virtuosity has opened up countless possibilities and he is one of the very few chefs who can effortlessly and knowledgeably adapt to a wide variety of universes ranging from bistros to brasseries and on to mountain and Mediterranean restaurants. He enjoys tinkering with his eminently personal takes on hamburgers, club sandwiches, Caesar salads and even ham sandwiches (his was incidentally voted the best in Paris). His desire to share fantastic flavours is constantly pointing him towards new adventures. His extensive expertise, combined with his unfailing consistency, explain much of the success that the restaurants at Le Bristol Paris enjoyed for 25 years.

The Frechon generation

Eric Frechon’s way of showing gratitude for the wonderful legacy he inherited from his mentors is to constantly pass on his knowledge in turn. He is one of the profession’s most prominent teachers and has tutored an entire generation of chefs who share his vision, high standards. values and open-minded attitude. The list includes Franck Leroy (his right hand at Le Bristol), Yannick Franques, Virginie Basselot, Fabien Lefebvre and Yann Maget – all of whom hold Meilleur Ouvrier de France titles – as well as Amélie Darvas, Amandine Chaignot, Emmanuel Kouri, François-Xavier Ferrol, Christopher Hache and Masanori Uchida. This “Frechon generation” has been working wonders behind the scenes in the world’s finest restaurants for 30 years, and is trained to be on top of everything, check everything, leave nothing to chance and, above all else, share. The chef, who believes teaching is a two-way avenue, has also learnt about other ways of seeing and doing things from them.

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