Greg Sonnier was born and raised in New Orleans, and his Southern roots have inspired his passion in the kitchen. He began his culinary career with an honored position as apprentice to world-renowned, master Chef Paul Prudhomme, of K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and later worked under fellow K-Paul alumni, Chef Frank Brigtsen. With invaluable experience from his mentors in hand, Chef Greg and his wife, Mary, opened Gabrielle Restaurant.
Chef Greg, Mary and Gabrielle restaurant enjoyed much success and recognition, both locally and nationally. In the first year of operation, New Orleans Magazine named them as two of the “Fifty People to Watch in 1992;” they were featured chefs on the Great Chefs Series, “The New Garde;” The Times Picayune food critic, Gene Bourg, gave Gabrielle his highest “4 Bean” rating and a rave review, and Bon Appétit recommended it as a hot new restaurant. More rave reviews followed in national magazines including Travel & Leisure, Travel Holiday, Food & Wine, Esquire, Town & Country, The New York Times, Southern Living, and Garden Design. Orleans Magazine named Chef Greg as both “The Best Chef in New Orleans” based on a poll of local chefs and “Chef of the Year.” In 1999, Food & Wine named him one of “The Top Ten New Chefs in America” and in 2005, Chef Greg was nominated by The James Beard Foundation for its Best Chef Southeast category.
Zagat New Orleans Restaurant Guide gave the restaurant the highest food rating in 1996 and 1997, and later in 1999 Gabrielle earned the third highest food rating in the city. Chef Greg has twice been honored with an invitation to cook at the prestigious James Beard House, where his first dinner was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.
Gabrielle closed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the original location. Today, Chef Greg is poised to bring his much venerated style to Kingfish—a bit lighter and more delicate than the traditional Creole.