chef-name: Roland Liccioni

Roland Liccioni was born in 1955 in Saigon, Vietnam to a Vietnamese mother and a Corsican father, at a time when many European ex-patriots lingered in Vietnam. They gave their son a French name, and moved to the southwest of France in 1956.

At age 15 in 1970, he went to culinary school and in 1973, began his apprenticeship at the Rothchild’s family restaurant, Brasserie Bofinger, in Paris. In 1975 he moved to London to work under Albert Roux at the Waterside Inn, where he progressed from chef de parti to sous chef in three months.

Five years later in 1980, Roland left for the United States and moved to the Chicago suburb of Highwood to help a friend of his, Christian Zeiger, with his Alouette French restaurant, while Carlos’ Restaurant was being finished down the street, where Roland had a job waiting once the restaurant was opened.

In 1981, Chef Roland Liccioni became the executive chef of Carlos’ and in 1984, Great Chefs Television showed up to tape him for their Great Chefs of Chicago thirteen-part television series. He prepared two appetizers, Flan de Foie Gras and Ravioli of Langoustine; as an entrée he prepared Assiette of Squab with Wild Mushrooms, and a Night and Day Cake dessert. All appeared in episode # 9 of the Great Chefs of Chicago series.

In 1988, Great Chef Jean Banchet retired and leased his Le Français restaurant to Chef Roland and Mary Beth Liccioni and in 1997, he won the Best Chef of the Midwest James Beard Award.

When their lease ran out in 1999, Chef Roland worked for Jovan Trboyevic at Les Nomades for three years; then opened Le Lan with Great Chef Arun Sampanthavivat in 2004; he opened Old Town Brasserie in 2007; and worked with Great Chef Gabriel Viti to open Miramar Bistro in 2009.
In early 2000, Chef Roland’s ex-wife, Mary Beth bought out Jovan Trboyevic’s. Les Nomades, and as chefs changed, she called Chef Roland to come back and work the kitchen in 2011, where he still is in 2014. He is also helping with the design of the new kitchen for Cochon Volant at the Chicago Hyatt, which will open later in 2014.