Born and raised in the Southwest region of France, Gregory Pugin began perfecting his culinary art from a very young age. His father, a chef, ignited in Gregory a passion and love for cooking as a child, and they often cooked together for the family. It became clear at an early age that Pugin was destined to follow in his father's footsteps and he quickly worked his way through France studying under some of the country great master chefs.
Pugin began an apprenticeship at 16 working alongside Chef Jean-Marie Gautier, one of the most respected chefs at Hotel de Palais in Biarritz, France. At 19, he traveled to Romorantin-Lanthenay, France and won the Plat Froid Artistique moins de 23ans Journees Gastronomiques de Sologne, a national competition for cooks under the age of 23. At the age of 20, he took home another national cooking competition title in the Cuisine et Patisserie moins de 23 ans Trophee Roger Goutallier at Saint-Armand Montrond. That same year he became an apprentice in the Compagnons du Tour de France, a French organization of craftsmen and artisans receiving tutelage under masters of the craft. After four years of hard work and demonstrating mastery of the skills in the culinary trade, Pugin became one of the youngest chefs to be awarded the title Compagnon du Tour de France.
Pugin's recognition with the esteemed organization captured the attention of France's Chef of the Century, Joel Robuchon who invited Pugin to join him in his cooking laboratory and on his television show. In 2002, Pugin was asked to assist Robuchon in opening eight restaurants worldwide including locations in Macau, Monaco, Paris and Tokyo. After opening L'Atelier Joel Robuchon in New York City, he remained there for two years as Executive Sous Chef. Pugin left Robuchon's group to begin working as Executive Chef of Veritas in New York. While at Veritas, Pugin's culinary excellence was recognized by critics and diners alike, earning him a Michelin Star in 2009 and a Rising Star Chef of the Year nomination from the James Beard Foundation.
In 2010, Pugin moved to Las Vegas, where he took on the role of Executive Chef at Le Cirque in the Bellagio. There, his specialty Oxtail Bucatini Timbale was awarded the "Most Savory Dish of the Year" for 2011.
In 2013, Chef Gregory Pugin joined the Biltmore in Coral Gables, Florida, as the Chef de Cuisine at Palme d'Or. He brings with him a most impressive background along with the promise to populate the Palme d'Or menu with his personal style. He sticks to classic recipes and techniques, but likes to finish his dishes with a twist, creating presentations that burst to life. The Langoustine au Caviar, for instancelangoustines marinated a citrus vinaigrette alongside passionfruit tapioca and finished with an apple-vodka gele. "I'm always thinking about the experience," Chef Pugin says. "I want this to be the best meal anyone has ever had."He is recently married and his wife joins him in Miami as this new opportunity unfolds for him.
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What is your earliest memory involving food or wine?
The first time i tasted a Domaine De La Romanee-Conti Burgundy Wine 1991 which was paired with a dish with black Truffles. It was an unbelievable combination
If you've participated in the Festival before, what is your favorite SOBEWFF memory to date?
The first time i participated due to the excitement of being part of such an amazing event regrouping so many talented chefs
If you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Auguste Escoffier because he was the first chef who did a complete cooking book in 1919 " The Culinary Book" where you find all bases to be a good chef.