Chef Vincent Grumel
People often ask Vincent Grumel why he left sunny southern France with its Van Gogh skies for California? Was it merely happenstance? Perhaps, but Vincent's admirers prefer to call it fate. In April, 1976, Vincent was visiting friends in La Jolla when he received a phone call. His newly opened restaurant on the Rhone River had been flooded and the damage was devastating. Although the young man was heartbroken, he didn't allow this disaster to halt his creative journey. Vincent took the path less traveled; he began working in Solana Beach at Mon Ami restaurant.
The Chef de Cuisine at Mon Ami had recently broken his leg and Vincent filled an immediate need. Mon Ami had been capturing the attention of discerning palates with its proximity to the Del Mar racetrack. While at Mon Ami, Vincent prepared food for the likes of Burt Bacharach, Desi Arnaz and Willie Shoemaker as well as the famous chef, Julia Child. Vincent stayed on at Mon Ami for the next few years delighting discriminating palates and garnering the attention of food critics.
In 1980, Vincent and Bernard Hug-the French born restaurateur behind Mille Fleurs and Bertrand's at Mr. A's-opened Bertrand's in Leucadia. Later, in 1982, they opened La Maison du Lac in Carlsbad. Fans followed from venue to venue, never wavering in their loyalty. In 1983 Vincent co-owned Cuisine a la Carte in Solana Beach and then Vincent's Four Seasons, in both Solana Beach and Carlsbad.
Vincent Marie Joany Grumel was born in Besancon, France near the Swiss border. He was one of four children and the son of an army physician. During his father's military career the family moved often, living throughout France and even in Algeria. Later, the family settled in Arles, the home of the famous post impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh. Vincent considers Arles his French home.
Vincent Grumel is trained in classical French cooking having studied the culinary arts at the Ecole Hoteliere D'Avignon, in Avignon, France. His mother came from a long line of good cooks, and he was a quick understudy. Vincent tells us: "We always kept beautiful food on the table at home." Passionate about nature and animals, young Vincent was encouraged to become a veterinarian; however, cooking was to be his first love and passion.
When Vincent finished his studies at the culinary arts school, he went on to apprentice under Chef Paul Louis Meissonier at the three-star Michelin restaurant L'Hermitage in Avignon, Cote D'Azur where he was named "Best Apprentice Chef." This proved to be an auspicious beginning.
In 1993, Vincent opened Sirino's in Escondido with a partner whom he later bought out in 1999. Vincent and his wife, Lisa, became the sole proprietors of the restaurant now called Vincent's.
In the restaurant on Grand Avenue, Chef Vincent serves classic French cuisine bourgeois, and while the food may be presented in modern and elegant ways, Vincent is a staunch traditionalist. Whether he's improvising daily specials with fresh organic produce from the local market or utilizing specialties like soft-shelled crabs from local fish mongers, Vincent keeps things fresh and inspired. "Every day is different," says Vincent.
Although Lisa Marie Raedeker was born in Norman, Oklahoma, she spent her childhood and adolescence here in Escondido, California. The third of eight children, Lisa had a lively upbringing. This energy can be seen in the way Lisa moves through the restaurant attending to each and every customer.
As a young girl, Lisa helped her mother in the kitchen, cooking and baking for a large family. This early interest in cooking translated to a summer job. While still in high school, Lisa spent summers in Oklahoma City, helping out at Chez Vernon, her cousin's restaurant.
Lisa later studied cake decorating along with her sister, Lorelei, and the two opened a cake decorating business called Top of the Tier, making wedding cakes to order. The two sisters started the endeavor for fun, but friends and family were so impressed with the exquisitely decorated cakes that a business was born.
After Lisa and Vincent married, Lisa became an integral part of the restaurant. When loyal customers and new comers alike step through the French arches of Vincent's, Lisa's imprint can be seen everywhere. Along with décor, Lisa initiates promotions for the restaurant, does much of the business and is responsible for the elegant ambiance which is Vincent's.
Lisa and Vincent spend long hours at the restaurant, but both agree it is a labor of love. The two work hand in hand to create a smooth running restaurant where waiters look unhurried and food appears hot and delicious on the table. If Vincent is the right hand, Lisa is the left; together, they make the whole, and Vincent's shines.
Chef Henri Alain Delahaye
Chef Henri Alain Delahaye, known as Alain in the kitchen of Vincent's restaurant, works deftly with a knife cutting away the shell of a juicy lobster as he's peppered with annoying questions: Where were you born? Where was your culinary training? It's obvious that Alain would rather be cooking than talking. Alain's passion for food is evident in the way he handles a knife and the way he talks about cooking. When asked what his favorite dish is he answers: "when food is made with love, every dish is my favorite."
Alain was born in Bayonne, France. His mother was not the cook at the family homestead, Alain was, making dinners and lunches for his parents and his siblings. Alain's culinary training in traditional French cooking was "on the job" in the finest restaurants throughout the Basque area of France. Alain served as chef at La Cafe De Paris, in Biarritz, France, and also at L'Operne in Biarritz. Alain cooked at L'Hotel de Chiberta in Auglet, France, and finally Le Deli, also in Auglet, before coming to the United States with his wife and two children in 2005.
Alain followed his passion to America serving as the main chef at My Place in La Jolla, before moving on to the French Gourmet also in La Jolla. When Alain arrived at Vincent's: Voila! Le perfect pair.
Vincent and Alain banter in French as they cook in concert to create sumptuous meals. The two men have much in common, having been trained in the traditional school of French cooking where a Broiche, buttery and light, melts on your tongue, where ingredients are always fresh, and where sauces are made from scratch cooking for hours in huge battered pots seasoned with time. Alain has proven to be just the right spice that makes up the team at Vincent's.
At Vincent's, timing is everything. The wait staff leaves nothing to luck, assuring a memorable and superb culinary experience. Dining details are met with precision from the first pouring of wine, to the serving of dessert. This first class team treats customers with warm hospitality and superior service, making Vincent's an excellent choice for fine dining in San Diego County.