PHILADELPHIA, PA-Georges Perrier, chef-owner of Le Bec-Fin, 1523 Walnut Street, has been the toast of Philadelphia for over 25 years. Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell named the street in front of Le Bec-Fin, "Georges Perrier Place" in honor of Chef Perrier's 50th birthday. CondÈ Nast Traveler Editor Tom Wallace refers to Chef Perrier as a "living monument." A spirited personality, Chef Perrier has become a regularly invited guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. In 1998, he was named "Best Mid-Atlantic Chef," a prestigious honor given by the James Beard Foundation.
Originally from Lyon, France, a city world-renowned for its culinary arts, Chef Perrier began his accomplished career when he was 14 years old. He trained with the great chefs at some of the finest restaurants in France including Michel Lorrain of Casino de Charbonnieres near Lyon, Jacques Picard of L'Oustau de Baumaniere in Provence and Guy Thivard at La Pyramide in Vienne.
Chef Perrier first came to Philadelphia in 1967 as Head Chef of Peter von Starck's La Panetiere. Three years later, Perrier began his own restaurant at 1312 Spruce Street, choosing for its name Le Bec-Fin, French idiom for "the good taste." It quickly became a Philadelphia institution. Visitors to the city considered it a must and regular patrons started coming from as far away as New York and Washington, D.C.
Rejecting invitations to relocate to Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Chef Perrier opted to continue his love affair with Philadelphia. In 1983, Chef Perrier acquired an historic art deco building at 1523 Walnut Street where he created the New Le Bec-Fin, what is often referred to as the most elegant restaurant in the country. The new location has enabled Le Bec-Fin to add a private banquet room, a separate smoking dining room and the intimate bistro, Le Bar Lyonnais. With the opening of Le Bar Lyonnais in November 1990, Perrier achieved the complete restaurant, which has been his dream since he arrived in Philadelphia.
In the 30 years since its inception, Chef Perrier and Le Bec-Fin have received the highest accolades in the hospitality industry. The restaurant has been rated Five-Stars by the Mobil Travel Guide for over 20 years and Five-Diamond status with the American Automobile Association (AAA) since 1989. For three consecutive years, readers of Gourmet magazine have selected the restaurant as their #1 choice in Philadelphia. In 1994, Le Bec-Fin was named the #1 restaurant in the county by readers of CondÈ Nast Traveler magazine. Zagat survey continually lists Le Bec-Fin as Philadelphia's favorite restaurant and gives it the highest score of any restaurant in the country since 1993.
The Chef and his restaurant are equally esteemed internationally. In 1976, Chef Perrier was inducted into the Maitres Cuisiniers de France, the premier international society of French chefs. Its 200 members include the finest French chefs in the world. In 1989, those members voted Perrier "Chef of the Year" and awarded him the Silver Toque, the most coveted trophy in the world of haute cuisine.
Recently, Chef Perrier returned to teaching after more than 20 years. He leads classes at Fretz, Philadelphia's demonstration kitchen and guest teaches at places such as Drexel University, The Restaurant School and at the prestigious Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne at the Greenbriar Resort, West Virginia.
Chef Perrier has also received many awards for his work with various charities including SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association, the Breast Health Institute, and the Arthur Ashe Tennis Foundation.
Chef Perrier's first book entitled Georges Perrier Le Bec-Fin Recipes was published by Running Press in September 1997. The beautiful, 224-page cookbook contains more than 100 recipes, featuring both the inspired haute cuisine of Le Bec-Fin, as well as the casual bistro fare served in Le Bar Lyonnais.
In January 1997, Chef Perrier opened his second restaurant, Brasserie Perrier, at 1619 Walnut Street, just a block away from Le Bec-Fin. A more relaxed, less expensive alternative to Le Bec-Fin, the first rate American Brasserie offers modern French cuisine with Italian and Asian influences.
Le Bec-Fin is located at 1523 Walnut Street, Center City, Philadelphia, PA. Dinner is served Monday through Thursday with seatings at 6 and 9pm; Friday and Saturday, second seating at 9:30 pm, prix fixe $118. Lunch is served Monday through Thursday with seatings at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm; Friday, second seating at 2pm, prix fixe $36. Classical guitar is featured music Friday and Saturday nights. Separate smoking area. Advanced reservations required. Le Bar Lyonnais, an adjoining bistro, serves from 11:30 am to 12 midnight, Monday through Friday; Saturday from 6 pm to 1 am. Valet parking available. For reservations or more information, please call 215/567.1000.