Master Chef of France Philippe Verpiand is the Executive Chef/Owner of Étoile Cuisine et Bar at 1101-11 Uptown Park Blvd. in Houston’s Uptown Park.
An avid hunter and fisher and a father of two, Verpiand hails from the Vaucluse region in the Provençal town of Cavaillon, France. The son of a second-generation butcher, he graduated first in his class from the French Culinary Institute in Avignon and worked at seven different Michelin-starred restaurants in France before moving to San Diego at the age of 28. He was Chef de Cuisine at Jean-Michel Diot’s prestigious Tapanade Restaurant in La Jolla before opening his own restaurant, Cavaillon, in the coastal hills of northern San Diego.
Verpiand and his wife, Monica, moved to Houston in 2012 and opened Étoile together soon afterward. Étoile has become widely recognized as the Bayou City’s best French restaurant, and Verpiand was inducted into the esteemed Master Chefs of France society in March 2015.
Q&A with Étoile’s Philippe Verpiand
Biggest influences: My parents. They used to run a top quality butcher-charcuterie shop and I was around food from a very early age, probably 8-10 years old. My mother was a fantastic cook.
Why Houston: Houstonians love to go out to eat, and the city is very dynamic.
What makes Houston special: The people are very friendly, and the food culture is very diverse. It is never boring!
What you try to convey about the city/region with your menu: I always try to work with local producers and use Gulf seafood as much as I can.
Last meal in Houston before leaving town, first meal upon: BBQ and Gulf seafood.