Rising Star Chef Tony Esnault of Patina Restaurant Group - Biography
New York, New York
Born in the small town of Saumur in France’s Loire Valley, Tony Esnault sharpened his culinary palate as a boy, eating fruits and vegetables from his grandparents’ farm. Among his earliest memories was the excellent cooking of his grandmother, which in turn inspired his love of cuisine and appreciation for the finest ingredients.
As a young man, Esnault sought professional training at the François Rabelais culinary school, then began his restaurant career in 1990 at Paris’ one-Michelin-star Le Montparnasse 25 in the Le Meridien Montparnasse Hotel. In 1993, he moved to the two-Michelin-star Carré des Feuillants in Paris, and then to the three-Michelin-star Auberge de L’Ill in Alsace. In 1996, Esnault began working with Alain Ducasse at the renowned Louis XV Alain Ducasse Restaurant in Monte Carlo, where he worked for three years. In addition to his duties in this three-Michelin-star kitchen, Esnault traveled with and assisted Mr. Ducasse at gala dinners from Japan to Brazil.
Esnault worked as sous chef at The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco until 2002, and then as the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton Boston. In Boston, he successfully reinvented The Dining Room upon its reopening in 2002, creating innovative seasonal and holiday menus, wine dinners, and truffle dinners for the hotel restaurant. Among the many accolades he earned while there, in 2004 Food & Wine magazine awarded Esnault “Best Hotel Chef of America,” and his cuisine won the restaurant four AAA Diamonds in 2004 and four Mobil Stars in 2005.
Esnault was appointed executive chef at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York City in May 2005. In addition to being named a Rising Star by StarChefs.com for his innovative and elegant French-American cuisine there, Chef Esnault contributed to the restaurant’s three-star rating in Michelin’s inaugural New York City Guide in 2006. In 2007, Esnault and Ducasse opened Adour at the St. Regis Hotel, which earned two Michelin stars. And in 2009, Joachim Splichal chose Esnault to take over as Executive Chef of Patina Restaurant Group's Los Angeles flagship. Less than a year after his joining the team, Patina earned four stars from the Los Angeles Times.