Jean Banchet, a chef whose meticulous French cooking deepened the Atlanta dining scene in the mid 1990s, has died at the age of 72. The cause was pancreatic cancer.
Banchet was best known nationally as the chef and owner of Le Français in Wheeling, IL — considered one of the nation’s top French restaurants. But in 1992 he and a young protege, Tom Coohill, opened a bistro called Ciboulette in a retail strip near Ansley Mall. In 1996 he opened Riviera in Buckhead, where he briefly but memorably served as chef. Here he is pictured with noisettes of venison. Look closely at the picture and you’ll note that the little red wine he cracked to go alongside is a Chateau Latour.
- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog