Featured Chef October 19, 2011

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Profile

Laurent Tourondel

Owner + Chef

BLT Steak South Beach


"Miami has always been one of my favorite cities, and I am thrilled to bring BLT Steak to South Beach."

- Laurent Tourondel



Awards & Accolades

2007 Bon Appétit as Restaurateur of the Year ­

2004 "Best New Restaurants, Esquire

1998 "Ten Best New Chefs", Food & Wine Magazine



Chefs > BLT Steak > Laurent Tourondel


Chef Recipes 2

Popovers

Popovers • Recipe

For a great appetizer that can be served with carmelzied onions or diced bacon, check out Chef Laurent Tourondel's delicious popovers.

Hamachi Ceviche

Hamachi Ceviche • Recipe

Check out how to make BLT Steak's Hamachi Ceviche. Hamachi is a rich, flavorful fish in the large tuna-bonito family that comes from Hawaii.



Profile

Laurent Tourondel

Owner + Chef

BLT Steak South Beach

Laurent Tourondel has it all - the passion and skill of a French-trained chef, and the sensibility and style of a New York restaurateur. Thanks to this dynamic combination, the BLT (Bistro Laurent Tourondel) concept has taken flight, culminating in three premier New York City restaurants: BLT Steak, BLT Fish, and BLT Prime.In 2004, Chef Laurent Tourondel returned to the states from his travels around the world to open the first in his series of signature modern bistros, BLT Steak, a modern American Steakhouse. Countless rave reviews and many adoring fans have proved that there is magic behind the stoves when Tourondel is cooking.

While Tourondel is known as an authority on steaks and roasted rack of lamb, he was first honored for his work with the fruits of the sea. In 1999, Tourondel received rave reviews for Cello, his divine seafood restaurant, and shortly thereafter began work on his first cookbook, a guide to preparing seafood for the home cook. Since its release in October 2004 "Go Fish: Modern Seafood Cooking for the Home" (Wiley) has been featured in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Life Magazine among many others.

Tourondel spent his childhood on the coast of France fishing with his grandfather and baking by his grandmother¹s side. The mesmerizing smells and tastes of his home led him to the Saint Vincent Ecole de Cuisine in Montluçon, France, where he graduated with a "d¹Aptitude Professionnelle de Cuisinier", and embarked on a career that would take him through some of the highest esteemed kitchens in the world.

He served as Chef to the Admiral in the French Army, before Tourondel traveled to London's famed Gentleman's Club, Boodles, and next followed his dream all the way to New York City to serve as executive chef at celebrity caterers Tentations, Potel & Chabot and as Pastry Chef of Restaurant Beau Geste. Eager to refine his French technique, Tourondel returned to France to work under Jacques Maximin at Restaurant Ledoyen.

To further hone his skills, he continued his culinary journey which took him to Moscow's Restaurant Mercury, then back to the stoves in France for a two-year stint at the Michelin 3-star Relais & Chateau Troigros. Troigros knew talent when he saw it, and tapped Tourondel to become Executive Chef of C.T. (Claude Troisgros) his debut restaurant in New York City. At C.T., the restaurant received three stars from Ruth Reichl of The New York Times with Tourondel at the stove. After a leave of absence to stage under Joel Robuchon, Tourondel returned to the States, and, upon C.T.'s closing, traveled west to Las Vegas where he was chosen to commandeer the kitchen of the Palace Court Restaurant at the World Famous Caesar's Palace Hotel & Casino. Lady Luck shined on Tourondel in Vegas; in 1998 he was honored as one of Food & Wine Magazine's Ten Best New Chefs.

Shortly thereafter, Tourondel was wooed back to New York City to take charge of the kitchen at a new fine dining restaurant in an elegant, old world townhouse on the Upper East Side. The restaurant was called Cello. "It was a big step for me to come back to New York," recalls Tourondel. "Nobody knew about me. I was this guy who came out of nowhere." Soon, though, everyone knew and in 1999, Cello received three stars from William Grimes of The New York Times.

When Cello closed its doors, Tourondel took advantage of the respite and traveled the world, making his way across South America, through Asia and Africa, on a tour that was all about eating and soaking in the flavors of the world. "In Argentina I drove eight hours to try a piece of lamb in Patagonia," he says. "The sheep over there eat salty grass. The meat was like nothing I have ever tasted." These experiences have stayed with this ever-evolving chef and a year and a half later, with his wanderlust satisfied, Tourondel returned to the states to open a modern American Steakhouse: BLT Steak. The accolades followed ­ 2 stars in The New York Times, 3 stars in Crain¹s, and Esquire awarded BLT Steak as one of its"Best New Restaurants of 2004."

In 2005, Tourondel did it again, opening BLT Fish and BLT Prime. BLT Fish, which quickly earned three stars from The New York Times, is a combination of a New England fish shack on the first floor, and a more formal dining room on the third floor of this Flatiron townhouse. Emphasizing the delicacy of seafood, the upstairs menu features an assortment of whole roasted fish and composed fish dishes, accessorized by a mix of sides, just like a steakhouse. "I¹m just presenting these dishes in my own way", says the chef, "and enjoying it. I think my guests like it too". Downtown diners delighted in the opening of BLT Prime, a downtown expanded version of his uptown gem. BLT Prime celebrates a variety of meats and cuts based on a traditional steakhouse menu.

Where many chefs have attempted, Tourondel has successfully stepped inside the American dining scene, bringing his formidable French training to his interpretation of two American institutions: the steakhouse and the seafood house. Just ask anyone.

Honored by Bon Appétit as Restaurateur of the Year in 2007 and by Food & Wine as a Best New Chef in 1997, Tourondel also has received an array of “Best of…” awards from publications that include Esquire, Travel & Leisure, Saveur and Wine Spectator.  Tourondel has changed the approach of fine dining by creating accessible menus prepared with the finest ingredients and presented in a casual, comfortable dining room.  By adhering to his belief that ingredients should be stellar, food simply prepared and service kind and efficient, BLT restaurants have become household names.

With the passion and skill of a French-trained chef and the sensibility and style of a metropolitan restaurateur, Tourondel successfully has infiltrated the rarified world of New York restaurants and the national dining landscape, much to the delight of critics and diners alike.


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