Church & State, Los Angeles, CA
Growing up in the Loire Valley in France, Chef Tony Esnault plucked the tangy fruit straight off the trees on his grandparents’ farm. The lessons he learned on that farm, from the perfection of a freshly laid egg to the exquisiteness of a courgette at the height of season, continue to inspire his cooking today.
After four years of classical training at the François Rabelais culinary school in Lyon, Tony honed his craft at the one-Michelin-star Le Montparnasse 25, the two-Michelin-star Carré des Feuillants, the three-Michelin-star Auberge de L’Ill in Alsace, and with Alain Ducasse in 1996 at the legendary Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo. At 25, he had found his mentor.
Elegance of flavor and artistic execution became Tony’s trademark in the US. At the Ritz Carlton Boston, he earned the prestigious recognition of Best Hotel Chef of America in 2004 by Food & Wine magazine. The same year, the restaurant was awarded four AAA Diamonds, followed by four Mobil Stars in 2005.
In 2005, Tony became executive chef at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York City. While there, he garnered three Michelin stars and was named a “Rising Star” by StarChefs. In 2007, he went on to open Adour with Ducasse at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, receiving three stars from The New York Times and two from The Michelin Guide. In 2009, Tony relocated to Los Angeles to take the helm at Patina in the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, where he garnered a four-star review by Los Angeles Times.
Today Tony continues to master that quietly confident cooking at Church & State, where he took over as executive chef in January of 2013. In the spring of 2015, he plans to open his first restaurant, aptly named Spring, focusing on lighter French Mediterranean dishes and using only the freshest local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients, just as his grandparents did decades before.