by Joseph H. RADDER
|Michael Militello and Vincent Carriere.|
One doesn't usually think of the word wizard in connection with food. Yet, if one
accepts the definition "a very clever and skillful person, worthy of the highest
praise", wizard fits Vincent Carriere like a glove. The world's culinary
Paris, New York, New Orleans, Montreal, to mention but a few, all have more
than their share of culinary wizards. Buffalo is fortunate to have at least one in the
person of Vincent Carriere, president and CEO of Food Art Concessions. For those who have
not read the earlier chapters in this series, that's the umbrella corporation for the
Bijou Cafes, the Sonoma Grille, and several other food service organizations.
Carriere was born in Theziers, Avignon France. He comes from a family of vintners whose history dates back over four generations in the wine business. His father, Pierre Carriere, and his brothers still oversee the wine business in France. His mother, Anna Marie Buravand. "is still alive and doing well", Carriere says smiling.Clearly proud of his family heritage, Vincent goes on to tell us "My grandfather was a three star general in the military, serving France in both World War I and World War II."
Vincent Carriere and Phyllis Sipos were married in Buffalo in 1985. "My wife is a dietitian-nutritionist," he says with a twinkle in his eye. "So you can see that, when I as a French chef and a dietitian-nutritionist get together at one table it's sometimes difficult. I say 'more cream', she says 'less cream'. I say 'more butter,' she says 'no butter.'" The Carrieres have four children. Daughter Danielle is 27, Nicole is 25, Chantal is 18, and son Pierre Vincent is 16.
As a child, Vincent attended private schools in France. His culinary training began at the Marie Curie School in South France. Several internships found him in the kitchens of some of the finest restaurants in France and Spain as well. In 1970, he applied for three visas one to the United States, one to Canada, and one to Australia "The first one that came was Canada," he says. "So I went to Montreal." He worked there as a chef and then in Toronto for four years before he came to the United States. He first worked at the Park Lane in Buffalo. Later, he would be a key food executive for Sports Service, a division of Delaware North Companies, operators of food service facilities all over the world. The need to travel a quarter of a million miles a year made him decide, at age 50, that it was time to make a change. That's when he and Michael Militello, who had worked together at Mulligan's Museum of Fine Arts Restaurant on Hertel Avenue, got back together to form Food Art Concessions and the Bijou Cafes As executive chef at Mulligan's, he established the restaurant's reputation as one of the premier fine dining venues in western New York.
When Vincent Carriere says "I've cooked for every president of the United States since Jimmy Carter. I cooked for the Pope, I cooked for Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and I cooked for most of the rock groups including The Rolling Stone," one realizes what a culinary giant we have right here in Buffalo.
Truly we have a wizard in our midst.
Joseph H. Radder is a freelance writer.
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