David Denis, Le Mistral
Food has been a central ingredient of Chef David Denis' life from the very beginning. It is his passion for creating and cooking that makes Le Mistral such a special place. David was born and raised in the Provence region of France, in the French Riviera town of Le Revest les Eaux. He often spent summers helping his grandmother, Mémé, in her brasserie in La Seyne or with his mother in her restaurant in Le Revest les Eaux. This strong culinary background prepared David for his journey into the flavorful Mistral winds, which influenced the name of his restaurant.
David began his journey at the young age of 17 by finishing first in his class in culinary arts at the École du Beausset in Beausset, France. He then attended culinary school in Blois, while working nights and weekends at the four-star Hostellerie La Caillère. From there he trained at the famed Hôtel le Carlton International in Cannes, France, where he held the honor as the youngest sauce chef.
David then became head chef at Restaurant le Bois de Lune-Montvenix in Savoie at 20, where he had sole responsibility for food preparation and financial management of the restaurant. He then honed his culinary skills for three years as a chef at Hotel le Gasthof Baren in Switzerland. David landed in Houston in 1995 where he spent five years as a private chef for a prominent family. His responsibilities included creating and organizing banquets, as well as private parties at the family's various homes around the world. This experience challenged him to adapt his recipes to different ingredients found in each exotic locale, as well as to meet the family's special requests, a talent he now showcases at the Chef's Table in Le Mistral's new location. A year prior to opening Le Mistral, David was an executive instructor at the Alain and Marie LeNôtre Culinary Institute in Houston, Texas, and he has brought some of his students along with him to hone their skills at Le Mistral. One student now is executive chef at a Houston-area fine-dining restaurant, while the other is his Sous Chef.