Master Chefs of France Announces Conference in Houston June 6-9


A gathering to welcome top French chefs from North America for a series of events,
workshops and the induction of Etoile’s Philippe Verpiand and Aura’s Frédéric Perrier

HOUSTON, TX – May 5, 2015 – Master Chef of France Philippe Schmit announced today that Houston will host the 33rd Annual Maîtres Cuisiniers de France and l’Académie Culinaire de France joint conference in June. This is the first time that this city has been selected as the meeting site for this esteemed and influential group of North-America based French chefs, who are dedicated to promoting the culinary and pastry arts. These maestros, all trained at Michelin star-caliber institutions, are reshaping modern French cuisine in America.

Recent conference locations in the US have included Chicago, Las Vegas and Charleston. Visiting guests will be staying at Uptown’s Royal Sonesta Houston hotel, which in tandem with Culinary Institute LeNôtre, will serve as venues for official business. Main sponsors include GDF SUEZ Energy North America, H-E-B, Bernardaud and Infiniti South West.

With his classical French training, penchant for all things Texas, Chef Schmit is realizing a dream several years in the making of bringing this exclusive event to Houston. “This has really been a labor of love for me,” says Schmit. “I am so proud to be a Houstonian and have imagined the conference coming to this city since my early days at Bistro Moderne. There are so many wonderful things I am excited to finally have the chance to share and show firsthand.”

Taking place from June 6 through 9 2015, the Congress will serve as a showcase for the city itself with experiences ranging from a back of the house tour at Space Center Houston to lunch at Killen's Barbecue and cocktails at Triniti’s Sanctuari Bar. Orchestrated by Maîtres Cuisiniers de France president, Michelin-starred chef Christian Têtedoie, an invitation-only gala at Le Mistral on June 8 will benefit Recipe for Success Foundation and formally introduce the newest Master Chef inductees, Philippe Verpiand of Etoile and Frédéric Perrier of Aura.

The conference also incorporates two ticketed opportunities which offer a very limited number of guests the chance to interact with the prestigious visiting chefs. Those events will both take place on Sunday, June 7, and include:

● Brunch at Rockin’ Star Ranch in Brenham from 1 until 3 pm, featuring live music from The Lonestar Bluegrass Band and a performance by the Lone Star Cowgirls. Tickets are inclusive of transportation from Royal Sonesta Houston.
● Cocktails and abundant hors d’oeuvres at CITYCENTRE’s Radio Milano with live music from 7:30 until 9:30 pm.

Both events are priced at $95 per person and tickets are available to book online at and

For the past 60 years, the Paris-based Association des Maîtres Cuisiniers de France has very selectively bestowed the most envied title to which chefs aspire – Master Chef of France. Recipients of the honor, dubbed Maîtres, are regarded as the most highly skilled in techniques and traditions of the French culinary arts. In 2012, Schmit was one of just 10 French chefs from the U.S. to be recognized and is currently the only honoree in Texas. At this time, there are 71 recipients in the United States and 500 worldwide.

“With the help of culinary talents like Philippe, Houston has become regarded as one of the hottest culinary scenes in the nation, and we are thrilled that two more of our local chefs are being recognized for the excellence that they bring to their field,” said Holly Clapham-Rosenow, Vice President of Marketing for the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Chef Philippe has been helping us promote the city for years. Not only are we thankful for all his hard work, but we’re also understandably excited to expose this group of acclaimed visitors to all that we have to offer as a dining, cultural and entertainment destination.”

For more information, visit
Follow the conference on Facebook: and Twitter: #MCFHOU.
For sponsorship inquiries, please call the MCF Houston Congress office at 281-501-2815.

About Frédéric Perrier of Aura
Perrier, a native of Lyon, France, worked at numerous Michelin two- and three-star restaurants before spending a year on the island of Saint Barthelemy in the French West Indies. He moved to New York City, where he gained recognition as executive chef of La Cité, an acclaimed French restaurant in Manhattan. After meeting his wife Michelle — a native Houstonian — in New York City, the couple moved back to Houston, where Perrier co-owned and worked as executive chef at Grille 5115 in the Galleria’s Saks Fifth Avenue. Down the road, Perrier opened Aura Restaurant in Missouri City and then moved the restaurant to Sugar Land and renamed it Aura Brasserie. Perrier also owns Hoggs n’ Chicks, a fast casual concept serving food that Perrier describes as “Southern fried with a French twist.”

Philippe Verpiand of Etoile
French native Philippe Verpiand, the son of a second-generation butcher, has been around the finest and freshest meats and produce his whole life. After graduating first in his class from the French Culinary Institute in Avignon, he worked in numerous Michelin-starred restaurants in the French Riviera, Alps regions, Courchevel, Biarritz and in Normandy. From Europe, Verpiand made his way to San Diego, where he served as Chef de Cuisine at the prestigious Tapanade Restaurant in La Jolla for more than seven years before opening Cavaillon Restaurant in the beautiful coastal hills of northern San Diego in 2005. With unassuming authentic French cuisine inspired by Chef Philippe’s hometown, Cavaillon quickly became recognized as one of San Diego’s top French restaurants. Chef Philippe remained at the helm until 2012, when a trip to Houston – where he and his wife Monica Bui have family ties– inspired the accomplished Chef to open Etoile Cuisine et Bar in Uptown Park.