Chef Westermann constantly spreads his wings to pursue a greater purpose in line with his love for food, animals, and nature.
Le Coq Rico is an embodiment of Chef Westermann’s lifelong passion, dream, and now reality in creating a more sustainable future.
Culinary Style & Influence
Chef Antoine Westermann’s cooking style is rooted in his Alsatian identity, with influence from the Mediterranean cuisine of Southeastern France.
He learned to cook at The Hotel School of Strasbourg and opened his first restaurant, Le Buerehiesel, at the age of 23. The restaurant received 3 Michelin Stars within a few years.
Chef is conscious of preserving his heritage but also understands the cyclical evolution of cuisine—he is often reinventing and innovating new dishes and concepts.
In his three Michelin Star restaurant, Chef introduced 5 signature dishes:
- Black Feet Chicken with potatoes, artichokes, lemon confit and rosemary, slow cooked Baeckeoffe-style
- Whole Black Feet Chicken with fresh truffle, potatoes and leeks, slow cooked Baeckeoffe-style
- Guinea Fowl and Duck Foie Gras Terrine with fennel, hazelnut oil
- Alsatian Egg Ravioli (Schniederspätle), stuffed with onions confit in honey vinegar and Frog Legs with chervil, chicken jus
- Goose Liver Pâté en Croûte, 12 spices, chicken broth gelée with walnut
- Bread Pudding poached in beer, poached pear and beer flavored ice cream
A Rooster in the Kitchen
In the kitchen, Westermann acts as the conductor of a ballet.
He trains his team to perform their role in confidence and harmony.
He has a calm disposition, and moves as smooth as a feather.
Chef understands that any suggestions from his team is important and always takes time to listen—communication is paramount to the success of his restaurants.
If a concept is strong, Chef Westermann understands that the lifetime of a restaurant should not expand beyond 10 years. With any concept, he knows when to turn the page and move forward.
Mon Vieil Ami, 2003 – 2016
Mon Vieil Ami was one of the first bistros of a 3 Michelin Star Chef where the focus was on vegetables, a tribute to the familial way of preparing veggies. Antoine Westermann sourced from the best vegetable farmers to create a menu where each dish was vegetable-centric and meats were accompaniments. In 2016, Mon Vieil Ami was sold to focus on the opening of Le Coq Rico in New York.
He reinvented traditional French and desserts hors d’œuvres by introducing an ambitious selection of 18 small plates of which each guest could select 4. When ordered among multiple people, the dishes created a glorious table feast. Chef also introduced the concept of including sides in the price of the seasonal entree where guests were allowed to select from a list.
Drouant‘s appeal was granting guests the liberty to choose as many side dishes as they desired, creating an indulgent and satiating experience where guests felt at home.
Chef re-established the daily special with classic French dishes prepared his way, such as Bouchée à la reine, Tête de veau vinaigrette, Poulet rôti frites salade, and Pot-au-feu. These dishes won multiple awards and people traveled across the city to taste them.
Drouant was sold to the Gardinier family of restauranteurs in 2018 so that Antoine Westermann could continue to focus on poultry.
Le Coq Rico – The Bistro of Beautiful Birds, 2012 – Present
Le Coq Rico is the first-ever poultry centric restaurant where Westermann utilizes his signature slow-cooking technique of poaching then roasting a bird. It opened its first location in Paris in 2012 and the second one in New York City in 2016. The restaurant was named one of “The Best New York Restaurants of 2016” and Chef’s Ile Flottante was named “Top 10 New York Dishes of 2016” by The New York Times.
Sourcing & Sustainability
Sourcing is at the root of Le Coq Rico, with heritage breeds raised in perfect coherence with its philosophy.
To Chef Westermann, sourcing means partnering with farmers who share the same philosophy.
He is a proponent of the ethical sourcing of meat, recognizing: “Yes, I am an omnivore, but with a standard!” and “If animals are offered the life they deserve, it will show in the quality of their meat.”