The Iconic French Chefs Who Educated Yannick Alléno

One hopes that everyone is lucky enough to get a teacher who makes an indelible mark on their lives. This was true several times over for the Michelin star-studded chef Yannick Alléno, and he credits this success to having been brought up in the classic French tradition of apprenticeship. It was during this time that he not only brushed with but worked under and alongside some of the country's greatest masters.

Alléno began his long apprenticeship when he was just 15 years old, and working in some of the finest Parisian hotels and restaurants gave Alléno the culinary training he would need to carve out the successful career he has. According to Sous-Vide Magazine, Alléno began his training at Le Louis XII, where he worked under Manuel Martinez, then he moved on to the Hôtel Lutétia where he benefited from the guidance of Jacky Fréon. After a stint here, he found his way to the Royal Monceau, working under Gabriel Biscay, and later to the Hotel Sofitel Porte de Sevres where he cooked with chefs Roland Durand and Martial Enguehard.

Though this apprenticeship is common among those who seek to rise through the ranks of French gastronomy, Alléno's apprenticeship was unique in the fact that all the chefs he trained with were masters of the highest order. All five, Martinez, Fréon, Biscay, Durand, and Enguehard, are recipients of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France.

A legacy of greatness

The Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF) is considered France's highest honor among craftspersons. Since 1924, the French National Education Ministry has put on this competition series every four years, testing everything from construction and music to jewelry and fashion. The culinary arts have to be the most well-known category, and anyone who makes it through the tasks to win a MOF is considered a master of their craft. Only 200 chefs have achieved that honor, and five of them trained Yannick Alléno.

The five chefs, along with Alléno's naturally competitive and curious spirit about French food, launched the young chef into his career as a culinary superstar. In 1999, he won first place in the Auguste Escoffier competition and second in the Bocuse d'Or. Nearly every restaurant Alléno has touched, from Le Meurice to Pavillon Ledoyen to Le 1947 has been highly regarded and/or garner Michelin stars.

Alléno attributes his success to hard work and being trained by these master chefs. Speaking to Fine Dining Lovers about his career, Alléno said: "To be honest, I would not change anything; I had the chance to be trained by 5 MOF [winners] and they taught me the best they could. I have no regret in what I've done. I am doing my passion every day and that's a real chance." Alléno's career is a testament to his education, and the legacy brought about by those willing to share their skills and knowledge.