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avatar for Jean Luc Kieffer

Jean Luc Kieffer

PicNic Market and Café - Customs Catering

Jean Luc Kieffer was born in the small Alsatian village of Reichstett, not far from Strasbourg and the German border. His father owned a butcher shop, where sausages, pates and specialty meats were regularly made and sold to Strasbourg’s leading restaurants. Like most classically trained French chefs, Jean Luc began his apprenticeship at age 14, starting at the famed Maison des Tanneurs in Strasbourg. He worked at many Michelin-starred restaurants in France and Western Europe until his fascination with the great cuisines of the world led him to travel abroad and explore a wide range of flavorings not found in traditional French cooking.

After several years on cruise ships, he became chef for the Horizon Hotel on the Isle of Jersey, where he often cooked for Queen Elizabeth II, a frequent guest. He was executive sous chef at the Caribe Hilton and executive chef at La Cava in Puerto Rico. In the nineteen eighties, Jean Luc came to New York, where for three years he was executive sous chef for Windows on the World and taught at the Culinary Institute of America. As executive chef of Pondicherry, one of New York’s first Indian fusion restaurants, he created many new dishes in collaboration with noted film producer and cook book author Ismail Merchant. Subsequently he worked with Jean Georges Vongerichten at both Vong and Jean Georges and then became executive chef of Park Bistro, where he made numerous appearances on the The Food Channel.

With the opening of PicNic Market and Café on the Upper West Side nearly a decade ago, Jean Luc returned to his Alsatian roots.  In 2013, with the launch of Customs Catering, the Chef’s culinary wanderlust will fulfill a surprisingly unmet need in New York City’s multi-cultural landscape.