Chef Guillaume Bienaimé was born and raised in Paris, France and moved to the U.S. at an early age but traveled back to France every summer. Guillaume was learning French cooking techniques from his “quintessential French grandmother” who cooked all the time and family meals were a great influence. Guillaume was not only interested in cooking from his family. Guillaume's first cooking job was in a small Pennsylvania pizza restaurant. Guillaume enjoys every aspect of hospitality. After making the switch to fine dining, he knew he wanted to make it a full time career. Growing up and spending a lot of time in France always gave him an edge in cooking French Cuisine. Guillaume graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a degree in Foodservice Management.
Guillaume was an intern at the now-closed Marché in Menlo Park California and was hired as a sous chef there after graduating from college. Bienaimé moved up the ranks to executive chef before leaving to open Portola Kitchen. Guillaume found the space that would become Zola shortly after leaving Portola Kitchen, and he opened the downtown Palo Alto French restaurant in the fall of 2014. Bar Zola recently opened last year.
We also talk about Guillaume’s preparation , strategy and experience on the Food Network: Alex vs. America (French) where Guillaume he won the entire show against Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and donating his proceeds to Chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen.
Special thanks to Geoffroy Raby of Cuisinett (Episode 009) and Lars Smith of State of Mind Pub (episode 0018) who were both previous guests on the podcasts and friends of Guillaume. Great to see all of these gentlemen creating great food and experiences for the community to enjoy.
Go visit Zola + Bar Zola for great food and drinks!