Chef Mavro: Best French Chefs in America

Chef Mavro (right) and Donna Jung at the 27th Annual Hale Aina Awards.

Photo: Elliot Takane

The cover story of Wine Spectator’s September issue is “French Chefs in America”—namechecking the men (yes, they are all men) who best work their Gallic magic in the New World. No surprise that Daniel Boulud is crowned “the king of New York,” and his friendly mug beams on the cover.

While New York food pundits are (justifiably) aghast that Jean-Georges Vongerichten is not on the list, we can puff out our Island chests with pride, because George Mavrothalassitis is. Ol’ Gael Greene may not have heard of him, but we sure have. And the editors of Wine Spectator obviously have, picking the Marseilles native as an example of the successful fusion of French cuisine, citing him as a founder of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine.

His cohort is dizzying—transplants David Féau, Jean Joho, Hubert Keller, Eric Ripert, and Georges Perrier, and supernovas Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Joël Robuchon and Guy Savoy, who have U.S. outposts.

“I’m excited for Hawaii to be on the Wine Spectator map and to be one of the chosen 11!” said Mavrothalassitis, in a written statement.

Sam Gugino (himself a chef before he became an award-winning food writer) calls Chef Mavro “one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the United States.” And of the recipe Mavrothalassitis shares in the magazine, grilled tako-socca salad, Gugino says, “He has transformed this [French] street finger food into an elegant first course with the addition of tako, an octopus often used in sushi, and ogo, for a fusion dish that might feel right at home in a Michelin-starred French restaurant.”

The socca salad isn’t on the current Chef Mavro menu (it changes seasonally), but you can try his new take on tako—in a ceviche with tomato granité.