Chef Biography

Bernard Cretier was born in 1947 in Vichy, France, and began his apprenticeship at age 15 in France.  He then moved around to work under the greatest chefs in France:  Jean and Pierre Troisgros, and then Bocuse at L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges near Lyon.  He then went into the French Navy in Paris as the personal chef of General Billotte, who was Secretary of State.

After service, he worked Maxim’s in Paris for four years, then in Germany and Switzerland before he was recruited to open Maxim’s in 1970 where he worked for six years, along with Great Chef Pierre Pollin.

In 1976, Chef Cretier left his cushy post at Maxim’s, borrowed money from his family and friends, and set up a restaurant called Le Vichyssois north of Chicago near the Wisconsin state line. Le Vichyssois means “a person from the spa village of Vichy” where Chef Cretier was born. It was an easy drive in the 1970s & 80s for busy Chicagoans who wanted to escape to the country and have a fine French meal.

It was in 1984 that Great Chefs made the trip up to Le Vichyssois to produce what is now called a landmark television series, Great Chefs of Chicago. Until that time, no one considered Chicago as a culinary destination. That series, also known as “The Bakers Dozen”, featured thirteen of the best chefs in the Chicagoland area, and because of PBS restrictions, a half dozen more Great Chefs were left behind.

Great Chefs Television corrected that on their next series, when they dropped specific cities as a title (e.g., Great Chefs of . . . New Orleans, San Francisco & Chicago), and instead adopted regional cuisine with their first 26-part series Great Chefs of the West, with a focus on Southwestern Cuisine.

So Great Chefs showed up on the doorsteps of Le Vichyssois one cold winter morning to tape Chef Bernard Cretier preparing a Seafood Paté in Basil Sauce appetizer, an entrée of Salmon Baked in Puff Pastry sitting in a pool of Champagne Sauce, and a Tarte au Chocolate dessert.

As traveling from Chicago became more difficult, and dress styles changed from coat and tie to casualization of restaurant-goers, Chef Cretier was forced to dumb down his menu to a Bistro style French restaurant. To make up the difference in cash flow, he began to market, just to his customers and local food outlets, his special Demi-glace.

In 2014, Chef Bernard and his wife, Priscilla, woke up one morning realizing that two of his good friends, Great Chefs Jean Banchet and Charlie Trotter had just dropped dead from heart attacks, and Great Chef Pierre Pollin had retired 10 years earlier.  It was time, after 38 years, to close Le Vichyssois the restaurant, and concentrate on producing more Le Vichyssois Demi-glace.

So, on March 30, 2014, Le Vichyssois served its last meal, and the expansion of Demi-glace production began.


Salmon Baked in Puff Pastry ▶

Serving: 8 Print Salmon Baked in Puff Pastry ▶ By Great Chefs July 29, 2014 Golden puff pastry packets are sliced to reveal pink salmon fillets stuffed with salmon mousse. A cream sauce based on champagne surrounds the slices. Ingredients Salmon Mousse Salmon Fillet – 6 ounces Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste […]

Tarte au Chocolat ▶

Serving: 8-10 Print Tarte au Chocolat ▶ By Great Chefs July 29, 2014 Rich chocolate cake is iced with chocolate ganache and — a surprising touch — served in a pool of cranberry sauce. Not raspberry, but cranberry. Chef Cretier calls for orange-flavored chocolate. The orange flavor is very subtle: you may substitute semi-sweet chocolate […]

Seafood Pâté in Basil Sauce ▶

Serving: 10 Print Seafood Pâté in Basil Sauce ▶ By Great Chefs July 29, 2014 This is a delicate terrine, featuring walleye pike, salmon, and shrimp. It is sliced and served with a tomato-basil sauce. Ingredients Seafood Pâté Walleye Pike Fillet – 1 pound (alt. trout or other white fish) Eggs – 3 Salt and […]

Restaurant Information

Phone: (815) 385-8223

The Finiest DemiGlac you will ever use for that special sauce. “NATURAL CLASSICS” DemiGlace as the name says “NATURAL CLASSICS” is the natural, fat free, low in salt, with no preservatives. MAde in the time honored French tradition dilivered to you Ready to use.

No matter if you are the best Chef, or home Chef, you will end up with the finest sauce without the time consuming preparation time. As you know to make a top quality DemiGlace you need 25+ hours, vegetables, veal bones and then the labor to prepare; then there is the clean up and the energy cost for production, and storage space. After all this you must agree that purchasing “Natural Classics” DemiGlace is good business because your customers receive a high quality, hand crafted foot while your staff and equipment are free for more creative pursuits. You increase productivty without increasing your costs.

This product is not factory made, but is prepared in small batches to ensure that only the finiest quality DemiGlace arrives at your kitchen. This demi may also be diluted to yield a very fine stock.

Insist on the Best, the Finest Mother Sauce “Natural Classics” DemiGlace

Available in: 1lb. and 4lb Containers

To order complete a online order form at:

or call directly at 815-385-8223

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