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Culinary Educators with an Appetite for Giving

Alain and Marie.jpg

Sunday, May 19, 2019
The Ballroom at Bayou Place

Alain and Marie LeNôtre are the owners of the Culinary Institute LeNôtre in Houston. Alain is the son of famous pastry chef and renowned caterer, Gaston LeNôtre, who, along with his wife, Colette, created a food empire. The LeNôtre family is regarded as one of the greatest culinary families of France. Over thirty years ago, Alain created the chef school, Ecole LeNôtre, in Paris, where he taught for a number of years. It is one of the finest retraining schools in the world. He also developed the international LeNôtre pastry shop franchise and expanded the LeNôtre chains in Japan, Germany, and Brazil.

In 1981, Alain and Marie were invited to begin a franchise in Texas. That brought them to Houston where they began their own business with a retail and wholesale bakery. In 1998, the couple opened the international culinary and baking school, Culinary Institute LeNôtre, designed for career seekers, career changers, and food enthusiasts, as well as for continuing education. In 2019, it was ranked the number one culinary arts institute in America.

Alain LeNôtre is a certified pastry chef, candy maker, and ice cream maker with over 40 years of culinary experience. From 1972 until 1982, he was the general director of LeNôtre Paris. Alain trained as a cook at the Grand Véfour in Paris. He received his Master Baker Certificate from Retail Bakers of America in 1987 and earned an executive MBA from the University of Paris I. Spreading his knowledge to the Middle East, there are now 10 “Alain LeNôtre” restaurants and bakeries in Cairo, Egypt.

In service to the community, Alain volunteers for, and gives generously to, many French associations in Texas. He founded, and presides over, the French Veterans of Texas Association. He also founded the Texas Association French Solidarity. In September 2018, Alain received the Order of Merit from the French Government for extraordinary services rendered to Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Also in 2018, Alain was honored with the Medal of the French Senate and recognized for founding the first and only French-owned culinary arts college in the United States.

Marie LeNôtre was appointed director of Culinary Institute LeNôtre when it opened in 1998. Her degrees include a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Houston, a bachelor’s in drama from the University of Athens, A master’s in public health from the University of Texas, and a master’s in English and creative writing from the University of Houston.

Understanding the importance of education for aspiring chefs, Marie and a group of philanthropist socialites created the Culinary Endowment & Scholarship in 2001 to benefit underprivileged students interested in a culinary career. The endowment was renamed the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship in 2009 as a tribute to Alain’s father, who passed away that same year, to: “ensure that Chef Gaston LeNôtre’s heritage lives on and that his legend in gastronomy lives on by supporting student-chefs that strive for excellence.” The fund has disbursed $1 million to date.

In further support of the community, Marie was president of the Houston Chapter Les Dames d’ Escoffier International, a society of professional women of achievement in the food and beverage industry in 2005, 2006, and 2018, and is president in 2019. In 2008, Marie was honored by the French Government with the Order of Merit at an event officiated by Chef Daniel Boulud at the Culinary Institute LeNôtre.

Sharing her fascinating life with the world, Marie has recounted her love story with Alain, and the struggles they had establishing the Culinary Institute LeNôtre in the United States, in her charming memoir, Appetites. The riveting read also illuminates the history of the LeNôtre name and its importance in French culinary history as well as its gastronomic achievements. The memoir is also another opportunity for scholarship funds as all the proceeds of its sale go to the Gaston LeNôtre Scholarship Foundation.

Alain’s motto is: “Cooking with Excellence, Respecting Tradition.” Together, Alain and Marie LeNôtre have brought the traditions and excellence of the LeNôtre family to Texas, helping young men and women pursue their culinary dreams.

CKW LUXE would like to congratulate Alain and Marie LeNôtre for being CKW LUXE Top 20 CEOs and Entrepreneurs Awards recipients for 2019.

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