At the age of 13, Christophe observed the culinary operations in a relative's restaurant, and knew what he wanted to do with his life. He began his culinary career after his 1991 graduation from the specialty school Lycée Hôtelier St. Bénigne in his hometown of Dijon, France. His early experience included positions in Michelin-starred restaurants and resorts in Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Canada and Poland. Christophe’s culinary expertise, leadership and management skills were recognized early: His career as an Executive chef took off within 6 years of his graduation, beginning as Executive Chef for the royal family of Qatar, serving at the palace of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned. After leading a team at an exclusive hotel/restaurant on the shores of Lac Leman in Switzerland, Christophe realized his dream of obtaining his Green Card and immigrating to the United States, where he eventually became a citizen in 2006. He spent the next 13 years as the Executive Sous Chef at the St. Louis Club, a private city club in Missouri, where he first met Nicolas. One of the highlights of Christophe's career is the distinction of having prepared meals for 43 heads of state, most while accompanying the King of Qatar on state visits around the world. After being recruited to direct culinary operations at a private dining club in Western Pennsylvania, Christophe invited Nicolas to join him as his Executive Sous Chef.
After many years of professional success and fulfillment, Christophe realized he desired more quality family time. He and his wife made the choice to follow his longtime dream of opening a specialty boutique. He is excited about the opportunity to share his knowledge and expertise with a wider audience, and to provide a brand new shopping experience in the Latrobe area where he can be more active in the community.
Nicolas Grunewald was born in Shiltigheim, France and was introduced to the culinary arts by his grandmother as soon as he could hold a whisk. His high school years were spent at the lycée Charles de Foucauld culinary school. After graduation, Nicolas set off to get as much experience as possible and to expose himself to the best learning environments. In his search to add cultural diversity to his culinary abilities he has worked in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. While in Spain he was under the tutelage of Meilleur Ouvrier de France ( Best Craftsman in France) 2000 winner Phillipe Jego. Nicolas helped him open the restaurant in a 5-star hotel, and became fluent in Spanish. When Nicolas was able to realize his dream of coming to the United States in 2008, he started his American career at the St. Louis Club where he met Christophe Fichet. Nicolas then moved to New York to perfect his skills at two of the best restaurants in the country, Le Bernadin and Daniel. After New York, he moved to Frederick, Maryland, and mastered New American Cuisine under the acclaimed Bryan Voltaggio at his restaurant Volt. Upon meeting Francis Layrle, former chef at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., chef Layrle asked Nicolas to take the position of chef de cuisine ( head chef) at his restaurant Bezu in Potomac. Nicolas excelled at his new management role; however, when Christophe offered him the Executive Sous Chef postition at an exclusive club in Western Pennsylvania, he welcomed the chance to experience a different way of life in the countryside and leave the city behind.
Nicolas' training and environmental concern demanded that there be a conscious decision to eliminate food waste and use as much local produce and meats as possible. He believes in the "farm and field to table" concept and is a frequent visitor to our local country market. He enjoys talking with vendors and sharing ideas for healthier food options. One of the things he is looking forward to with the approach of our store opening is being more available to his customers for questions and advice. Nicolas never really envisioned himself living anywhere but a city, but after moving into this beautiful Pennsylvania countryside and enjoying our friendly atmosphere he can't imagine living or serving a community anywhere else.