Christian Willer was born in Alsace into a restaurant family (and his grandparents were wine producers), so he grew up in the world of food and wine. After a very thorough training in The Doubs with a restaurant owner who was a personal friend of Fernant Pount, he then spent a year in Bale where he gained experience in managing a team of 40 people.
After apprenticing in several Parisian restaurants like Maxim’s, Prunier and le Fouquet’s, he traveled to the United States, Greece and Cyprus before beginning his career at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco. He then went on to L’Auberge des Templiers aux Bézards and while there,
the Lucien Barrière Group asked him to manage its own hotel in La Baule at L’Hermitage and Castel Marie-Louise.
In 1985, Chef Christian Willer was appointed executive chef of the Hotel Martinez on the Croisette in Cannes, France. He alone created “La Palme d’Or” which became the darling of the Cannes Film Festival. In May 1997 he inaugurated during the 50th Film Festival, the “Relais Martinez” and in 1998, Great Chefs showed up at his doorstep to tape him for their Great Chefs of the World television series. In 2001 he appointed Christian Sinicropi as executive chef (and future successor) of Palme d’Or, and in 2004 he inaugurated “Restaurant Zplage” on the property.
When the Grand Hyatt took over the Hotel Martinez, Chef Willer retired and let his protégé, Christian Sinicropi, take over the Martinez kitchens including the two Michelin star La Palme d’Or, but during a recent television conference in the Fall of 2015, after a major rainstorm and flood in Cannes, Chef Willer was sighted walking through the hotel lobby bar.