Award-winning chef Michel Richard has died, according to his longtime publicist Mel Davis. He was 68 years old.
“Michel Richard passed peacefully Aug. 13 at 8:47 a.m.,” Davis confirmed. “He spent his final days at Sibley Hospital surrounded by his loving family, friends, colleagues, and most especially, the wonderful chef community of Washington, D.C.”
He was hospitalized after suffering a stroke Tuesday.
Richard was a giant on the D.C. restaurant scene, first opening Citrus in 1986 and then Citronelle in 1994, both of which are now closed. Ten years later, he opened Central on Pennsylvania Avenue, which remains open. Central is described as an American bistro with a French twist and won the James Beard Foundation Award for best new restaurant in the U.S. in 2008.
“I love American food, and I’m French,” said Richard on the restaurant’s website. “So I make great French fries!”
Born in France in 1948, he learned to cook at the age of 7. His first restaurant was in a pastry shop in Los Angeles in 1977.
Richard was the recipient of several James Beard Awards.