When two chefs decided to open their own casual French bistro on Main Street in this little mill town, people were a bit surprised.

Lee has, however, such a great diversity of people and culinary choices, we were sure it would work out. Years of training in French fine dining made us long to have a place of our own, “chez nous,” to cook our favorite things in an atmosphere where people could really relax and enjoy.

Franck & Rachel, photography by Greg Nesbit

Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy

We first met in 1997 while Franck was working in his first post as Executive Chef at The Point, in Saranac Lake, NY.  Franck had left behind his native France a few years before to work in London at the renowned two-Michelin starred restaurant, Le Gavroche. After three years working his way up through the ranks, he was sent to The Point, a Relais & Chateau property for whom Le Gavroche consulted.  When I sent my resume to The Point to apply for the Pastry Chef position, unbeknownst to us, our partnership began.

After working in academia for a few years, I had decided to follow my passion for cooking to London, where I studied at Le Cordon Bleu to become a pastry chef.  I apprenticed for two summers in France and worked in pastry at Lespinasse, Wheatleigh, as well as The Point and Le Gavroche.

Franck in the kitchen, photography by Greg Nesbit

Franck has fun in the kitchen

Moving to the Berkshires has provided us with a much-needed change of pace.  When we first arrived, Franck took the position of co-chef at the bistro “From Ketchup to Caviar,” and I opened my own bakery-café, named “Cakewalk.” Three years later, we sold the bakery and purchased the location at 150 Main Street in Lee, where we are able to share our years of experience to fulfill our passion for cooking, pastry, and wine and to provide fine cuisine in a casual, warm atmosphere.