Master Chef Paul Elbling

Chef Paul medalsPaul Elbling was born August 1940 in Alsace, France. In 1953 Paul started a three year apprenticeship, after which he began getting practical experience by working in several well known places including the Summer Season at the famous Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France. From September 1959 through August 1962, Elbling was in the French Army during the Algerian War. In 1962 he became Chef at the DAS ALTEN GOLDEN KREUTZ in the posh resort city of Baden-Baden, Germany. In 1964 Chef Paul received his European Master Chef Degree. Paul married in France and came to the United States in 1967 where he served as Chef in the Restaurant Chez Francois in Washington, D.C. Later he served as Executive Chef in the Washington Hotel until 1970 when Chef Paul moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he was owner and Executive Chef of La Petite France. Assisting Chef Paul in the kitchen is his culinary team from the Knights of Columbus, a group of dedicated volunteers he has trained throughout the years in his style of cooking authentic French cuisine. Chef Paul has been with the French Food Festival from the very beginning in 2009.



2017 Festival Chefs

***Master Chef Paul Elbling has been with the RVA French Food Festival since the beginning, and his dishes are a staple of the event, developing a loyal following that return year after year. As the festival continued to grow over the years, other Chefs from around the Richmond area have joined our French Food Festival family to serve up some fantastic dishes based in classical French cuisine. We’re working on the line-up for 2018 now, but check out the list of  chefs who participated in our 9th Annual event in April of 2017 below!

Chef Michael McClure

Mike M photo

Chef Michael McClure began cooking in Baltimore in 1984, and learned classical technique at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. Over the last three decades he has worked in many fine restaurants and hotels, including Bistro Bobette, Chez Max, La Grotta, and of course Balliceaux, where he was when he first joined our team last year. Chef Michael made the move to Shockoe Bottom where he is Executive Chef at Lulu’s, where you can see lines out the door on the weekends as eager masses make their way in for their famous brunch. Not only is Chef Michael back to volunteer his time and talents again for our 8th French Food Festival, but he graciously took the time out of his busy schedule shortly after transitioning to his new position at Lulu’s to cook up 500 servings of his delicious ratatouille for our booth at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart’s International Food Festival.



Chef Sean Murphy

Chef Sean Murphy, a native of Richmond and graduate of Benedictine, has spent the last decade fine tuning his culinary palate and creativity, leading to the successful opening of fan favorites F.W. Sullivan’s in 2009 and Lady N’awlins in 2011. Sean began his culinary career from the ground up at the prestigious four diamond AAA rated The Fox Head Inn in Manakin Sabot, with his fundamental Chef training in classic French cuisine. Sean has been recognized as one of Richmond’s top three Chefs by Style Weekly’s annual “Best & Worst” editions in 2011 and 2012. His restaurants were also recognized in several top three ranking categories, “Best Undiscovered Restaurant,” “Best Overall Bar,” and “Best Bar Food,” to name a few. Ranked as a “In Town Chef that belongs on Top Chef” in 2011, Sean has left his position as Executive Chef of The Savory Grain Restaurant & Drafthouse to pursue his own catering business with his wife Tanya, spending his time outside the kitchen with their young son Patrick. Sean has been with the French Food Festival since 2011.



Chef Michael Crowley

Chef Mike Crowley was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 19, 1980. He grew up cooking with his father, and was always in the kitchen. Chef Mike’s father tended to his extensive garden in the backyard, which is where he learned his appreciation for using fresh local ingredients. “There is something really incredible about being able to work with these farms, like Manakintowne, where we are blessed to incorporate their beautiful and vibrant produce into my menus every season”, explains Chef Mike.

Mike Crowley is the Executive Chef at Patina Restaurant & Bar, located in the heart of Short Pump, in the far West End of Richmond. He prepares all dishes using as many sustainable, local, and ethical products as possible. Chef Mike changed the menu concept as farm to table, after the new local owners of the restaurant was purchased in August of 2016.

Chef Mike believes that by using the best crop from the finest farms, he is creating high quality dishes that are prepared and detailed to perfection.

Chef Mike is a native of Virginia Beach, VA. He has been living in Richmond, VA for six years. Chef Mike was a banquet sous chef at Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club for 4 ½ years. Upon moving to Richmond, he was a chef at Lemaire, TJ’s, and a banquet chef at the 5 diamond Jefferson Hotel for 1 year. Chef Mike was then the Executive Chef at Max’s on Broad in Richmond for 1 year. He went on to open and design the menu concept of French American, at the Belle and James for 1 year. Chef Mike was then a sous chef at the Antler and Fin, which he helped to open, serving wild game and seafood.