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Bon appétit

Chef Patrick Becquet brings the art of French cooking to Highland Springs

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October 14th, 2014
picture of Chef Patrick Becquet
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Chef Patrick Becquet never had a chance to be intimidated by culinary legend Julia Child.

As a sous-chef at Michel Richard’s Citronelle Restaurant in Santa Barbara, Calif., Becquet knew of Child only as a friendly patron.

“Mrs. Child would dine at Citronelle,” says Becquet, who was later promoted to executive chef at the restaurant. “She knew Michel Richard, and she got to know the staff. I didn’t realize she was a very important person until one of the other chefs mentioned it.”

Mastering French specialties

Originally from Reims, in the Champagne province of France, Becquet knew from an early age that he would make his living in the kitchen.

“My father was a pastry chef,” says Becquet. “I decided that I wanted to work in the kitchen when I was 14.”

Becquet attended culinary school at the Lycée Colard Noel in Saint-Quentin, a fair distance from his home in Reims.

“I took the train to school and stayed in Saint-Quentin during the week,” he says. “I returned home on weekends.”

At 18, Becquet graduated from culinary school and began working in Michelin-starred restaurants around France to master each region’s specialties.

“The south of France is known for its cuisine Provençale, which uses lots of garlic and herbs,” says Becquet. “The Périgord region has truffles and foie gras. In the east, close to Germany, you find dishes like sauerkraut. And the Montagne region is famous for its cheeses. I wanted to experience each of the different specialties.”

U.S. bound

In 1999, Becquet, his wife Florence, and their 11-month-old son Foster, moved to California in search of new opportunities.

“Florence had lived in the United States previously and wanted to return,” says Becquet. “I didn’t know English when we moved, but I learned it in California.”

After working at Citronelle and Casa Dorinda, Becquet and his family decided to relocate to Texas.

“We heard the economy was strong in Texas and thought it would be a good move for us,” he says. “I got a job as a chef at Texoma Medical Center in Denison.”

After four years at Texoma Medical Center and four years at Presbyterian Village North in Dallas, Becquet was tapped for the executive chef position at Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas.

Capitalizing on chef’s talents

Becquet, who has been working at Highland Springs since May 2014, brings a wealth of experience to his new role.

“Fresh food always tastes better,” says Becquet, who has increased the frequency of food deliveries to the community to ensure the freshest ingredients are used for every meal. “And that includes fresh herbs. They add flavor without unnecessary fat or calories.”

Dining services at Highland Springs was recently chosen by Erickson Living to roll out its new Signature Menu program, which expands the number of entrées available to residents and includes made-to-order dishes.

“We’re capitalizing on Chef Becquet’s talent,” says Director of Dining Services Debbie Malone. “He’s worked in some of the finest restaurants in France, and his culinary skills are a good match for the dining experience our residents want.”

 

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