By Alison Bailin Batz / Photo by Debby Wolvos
A native of the Vosges region of France, Jean-Christophe Gros and his wife Ségolène own and operate Voilà French Bistro, where Gros also serves as executive chef, focusing on expertly crafted French classics.
How did you get your start cooking?
When I was a young child in France, I loved helping my mother in the kitchen. By age 15, she saw my passion grow and helped me get accepted into a one-week discovery stage – think a one-week chance to shadow the pros – at a Michelin-starred restaurant. At the close of the week, I enrolled in culinary school and haven’t left the kitchen since.
And your formal start in the industry?
From ages 16 to 19, I apprenticed 15 hours a day, 21 days a month, using the off week to attend culinary school. Those first years were decisive for my career because, alongside different chefs, I was able to progress and learn different techniques that helped build my foundation.
How did you make your way to Arizona?
My wife and I delighted in visiting the U.S. annually for more than a decade. In 2007, we came to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon. We stayed in Scottsdale for one night and immediately fell in love with the city. We always knew we wanted it to be our home. So, in 2015, we decided to make a big move – we purchased Voilà from a fellow French chef who was retiring and moved to the U.S. to realize our dream.
Tell us about the menu at Voilà.
Though many people suggested I develop an Americanized French menu for the masses, I just couldn’t do it. It wouldn’t be me. Our menu, as a result, is 100 percent traditional French cuisine. My goal is to show people that French food is more than onion soup and escargot.
What is your favorite food to eat when you’re not working?
I love ribs and fries!
Voilà French Bistro, 10135 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale; 480.614.5600; www.voilafrenchbistro.com.