Pierre Gardien was born in Dijon, France and completed his three years of culinary education in Macon, France. In 1983, he came to the U.S. to work in several French restaurants in Chicago: Tango, Escargot and La Fontaine. In 1985 he joined the largest catering company in the area, George Jewell Catering.
In 1993, he left Chicago to become the executive chef at the Hotel Sofitel in Minneapolis. A year later, in 1994, the Great Chefs team taped him at the Sofitel for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of America television series. In 1995, he left the hotel to open his own restaurant in southwest Minneapolis called Pierre’s Bistro. It closed 17 years later.