November 10, 7:00 P.M.
Members $95, guests $120
For nearly two decades, Don Yamauchi
has been working his way up the ladder on the Chicago
restaurant scene, transforming himself from a starry-eyed
young cook into a formidable culinary force. But when
he and his partner, Phil Mott,
got a call from Jean Banchet,
the legendary chef/owner of the equally legendary Le
Français in Wheeling, Illinois, Yamauchi
knew he had truly made it to the big time. Banchet was
ready to retire from his landmark restaurant, a pioneer
of ultra-fine French dining in America; and the chef
to whom he wanted to pass his mantle was Yamauchi. When
he assumed the chefs position in the kitchens
of the famous restauranta restaurant that had
earned consistent four-star ratings from both the Chicago
Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, a restaurant
that had hosted a panoply of gastronomic stars, from
Julia Child to Jacques
Pépin to Craig Claiborne
to Mimi SheratonYamauchi
had joined the ranks of the nations top culinarians.
The Chicago natives arrival, of course, was hardly
unexpected. Yamauchi landed a job at the four-star Carlos,
under the much-lauded chef Roland
Liccioni, straight out of culinary school.
After a short stint at Le Mikado,
he went back to Carlos, where he worked the line for
Gabriel Viti. Three years
later, at the age of 23, Yamauchi was chef de cuisine.
It was here that he earned a spot on Food & Wines
Best New Chefs roster and a James Beard Foundation Rising
Star Chef Award nomination.
Next, Yamauchi opened his own place, the critically
celebrated Bistro in Highwood.
He was chef de cuisine at Patrick
& James when he was tapped for the much-coveted
chefs gig at Gordon Sinclairs
famous Gordon. In 1999,
Yamauchi teamed up with Mott, who was preparing to open
a new restaurant in Chicagos downtown River North
area. But before the renovations were finished, Jean
In his new restaurant home, Yamauchi brings his own
delectable twist to the classic dishes Le Français
has long been known for. The food is lighter, brighter,
a touch more modern: this is French cuisine for 21st-century
America. And the critical response has been glowing.
Last June, Phil Vettel
of the Chicago Tribune awarded Le Français
yet another four-star reviewmoving Yamauchi to
the front ranks of the countrys culinary elite.