From troublemaker to top chef

'No-good kid' Jean-Georges Vongerichten started out washing the dishes, but says he has succeeded as a chef because he always breaks the rules

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at his flagship restaurant, Jean-Georges, on Columbus Circle in New York.
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at his flagship restaurant, Jean-Georges, on Columbus Circle in New York. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK • This is how it began, the career of one of the most versatile, ingenious and adventurous chefs in the history of American cuisine.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten can pinpoint the day, the place and the words. His family had taken him to Auberge de l'Ill, a restaurant with three Michelin stars in Alsace, the French region where they lived, to celebrate his 16th birthday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2020, with the headline 'From troublemaker to top chef'. Subscribe