Florent and Amelia Marneau are more than the husband-and-wife chef duo behind Marché Moderne, one of Southern California’s most critically- lauded restaurants: they’re the heart and soul of the award-winning French bistro they’ve created together.
Florent’s vast professional experience includes a prestigious tenure that began in 1990, having worked in Paris for legendary master pastry chef Gaston Lenotre before chancing upon the opportunity to work for Orange County’s then-top French chef Pascal Olhats at Tradition by Pascal. From there, Florent moved on to take the helms at Aubergine, which quickly garnered critical acclaim as O.C.’s best restaurant. It was at Aubergine where he would meet Amelia, the restaurant’s pastry chef at the time.
Amelia’s impressive credentials include working as the pastry chef at the Michelin star restaurant Les Ambassadeurs in Hotel de Crillon Paris. Shortly after Florent and Amelia married, Florent was tapped by master chef Joachim Splichal of Patina Restaurant Group to be the executive chef of Pinot Provence. That too, did not take long to become the crown jewel of French dining in Orange County. After a successful decade, the Marneaus decided to strike out on their very own and opened Marché Moderne at South Coast Plaza, a luxury shopping destination. There, the accolades continued to pour in for another decade. Described as “ … the best bistro in Southern California” by the Los Angeles Times, in addition to nabbing the title of Best Restaurant in Orange County by the Orange County Register’s critic Brad A. Johnson, Marché Moderne has also consistently landed on the annual “101 Best Restaurants” list by Pulitzer- prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold of the Los Angeles Times.
Throughout the years, the Marneaus worked tirelessly side by side, he in the kitchen, creating what would be his hallmark of pristine French cuisine, with Amelia whipping up delicate confections to complement his cooking – or sometimes, the other way around. In addition to her artful pastries and desserts, Marché Moderne’s longtime guests know to also look forward to Amelia’s warm and gracious hospitality.
Now, the Marneaus are set to embark on their next culinary chapter together. They’ve taken their combined love for market-inspired ingredients and classic French cooking techniques with modern touches to a brand new home for Marché Moderne in Newport Coast, with the Pacific Ocean on the horizon.
When the Marneaus are not in the kitchen dreaming up new dishes, they enjoy doting on their two children, Juliette and Mateo.