Lucien Verge was born and raised in Lyon, France and was influenced by his mother’s penchant for cooking. His training was in the grand tradition. After four years at La Mère Filloux in Lyon at age 16, he moved to the kitchens of Paris’ finest hotels, The Crillion and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. In 1956 he moved to New York City as a chef at La Veau D’Or, the first French provincial restaurant in that city.
In 1965, Chef Verge moved to Chicago and in 1968, he opened his first L’Escargot Restaurant, which was Chicago’s first French provincial restaurant. It was destroyed by fire in 1979, and in 1980 Chef Verge opened a second L’Escargot in the Allerton Hotel on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. In January of 1985, on the coldest day Chicago had ever seen, the Great Chefs television crew showed up to tape Chef Lucien in his newly remodeled, original L’Escargot Restaurant, for PBS’s Great Chefs of Chicago television series. Even the kitchen was cold!
Seven months later, in July 1985, and just two months before his first television appearance on Great Chefs of Chicago was to occur, Chef Lucien Verge passed away.