You could say that Georges Perrier was born to be a chef. He started life in a city world renowned for its culinary arts, and it clearly left its thumbprint on the master chef. Born and raised in Lyon, France, Perrier started his fated culinary journey at the age of 14. He trained with French greats, including Michel Lorrain of Casino de Charbonnières, Jacques Picard of L’Oustau de Baumanièr, and Guy Thivard at La Pyramide, then owned by the legendary Ferdinand Point.
Perrier landed in Philadephia in 1967 to become head chef of Peter von Starck’s La Panetière. Three years later, he opened his own restaurant in downtown Philadelphia. Perrier named the restaurant Le Bec-Fin, a French idiom for “the good taste.” The small restaurant quickly became a Philadelphia institution. The restaurateur refused invitations to relocate to Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Chicago, opting instead to pave the way for Philadelphia’s restaurant renaissance.
In 1983, Perrier acquired a historic Art Deco building just a few blocks from Le Bec-Fin. He moved his legendary restaurant, adding a private banquet room and an intimate downstairs bar and bistro called Le Bar Lyonnais, which opened in 1990. Over the years, Perrier has opened several other restaurants, including georges’, and in partnership with Chef Chris Scarduzio, Table 31 and Mia in Atlantic City.
In the 35 years since Le Bec-Fin opened, Perrier and his flagship restaurant have numerous accolades. Le Bec-Fin is the only Philadelphia restaurant to receive five-stars in the Mobil Travel Guide for 23 years standing. In 1994, Condé Nast Traveler named the restaurant number one in the country, and it continues to garner top honors in publications like Food & Wine, Esquire, and Wine Spectator magazines.
In 1976, Perrier was inducted into the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, the premier international society of French chefs; in 1989, the members voted him Chef of the Year and awarded him with the Silver Toque. Perrier received the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 1998, and, in 2005, the French government bestowed on him the status of Knight in the National Order of Merit. Additionally, he has won many awards for his charitable work. Perrier also published his first book Georges Perrier Le Bec-Fin Recipes in 1997.