Dean of Classic Studies
Chef André Soltner began his career at the age of 15 at the Hôtel du Parc, Mulhouse, in his native Alsace, France before rising up the ranks to become chef at the upscale Parisian establishment Chez Hansi. Arriving to America in 1961, Soltner teamed up with Andre Surmain for the legendary Lutèce restaurant in Manhattan. With young Soltner running the kitchen, the two became business partners served some of the world’s most influential celebrities from Richard Nixon to John Lennon and everyone in between.
Soltner dedicated his career to life at Lutèce, which was awarded with a four-star rating from the New York Times. Soltner took some of the world’s finest, classic French cuisine and elevated it to a high art form worthy of four-star praise. In fact, Chef Soltner was the first chef to bring items such as shallots and crème fraîche to America. The acclaimed chef believed and demonstrated that repetition lead to perfection – and Lutèce was every bit of perfection. He and his staff started their days before sunrise, straining fresh stocks made daily. Using fresh veal, fish, and chicken bones and wholesome carrots and leeks, Chef André’s kitchen always had the best quality stock at hand. While labor-intensive, Lutèce’s delicate stocks and exquisite sauces, like truffle and madeira, helped to define an age of nouvelle cuisine. Chef André worked tirelessly only putting away his knives on Sundays to ski or play a round of tennis. In 1994, Soltner sold the restaurant to new ownership, but the doors finally closed in 2004.
During his 34-year tenure as chef and owner of the East Side culinary landmark, Chef André has received more than 25 awards, including the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, Officier du Mérite National, Chevalier du Mérite Agricole, James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and, most recently, Légion d’Honneur.
Chef André joined the International Culinary Center in 1995 and remains ICC’s Dean of Classical Studies today. He is the co-author of The Lutèce Cookbook and has served for more than 20 years as Délegué Général of the Master Chefs of France.