Laurence Richard’s Story

It’s that time again and BOY are you in for a treat! I am still pinching myself that Junes featured Significant Other is none other than the wife of D.C. Celebrated Chef and Restauranteur, Michel Richard! (Let me say that again… Michel Richard!!) But, before I share with you her story… I want to share how this came into being.

I always knew that I would love to feature Michels wife from the time Married to a Chef began programming. If I may say so myself, he is considered Restaurant royalty here in the DC area. Like I’ve encountered before, I thought I’d NEVER get past the Michels PR person to make contact with his wife, so I let my crafted email to the PR person sit for months. MONTHS! Thinking “They’re never going to let little ‘ol ME talk to Mrs. Richard directly.” One day, I was feeling especially brazen and I said “What do I have to lose, Really?” So I hit send. To my AMAZEMENT, within hours, Michels PR person responded and said she’d sent my email to Mrs. Richard. (Thanks Ms. Davis!!! – I was doing a happy dance! Ask my husband) and the next day Laurence and I were communicating! I’m STILL pinching myself as I mentioned above and you know what? She is SO gracious and lovely that it’s like chatting with an old friend! I am HONORED to feature her as for me, this is one of the top 5 things I wanted to accomplish here at Married to a Chef.

A little bit about Laurence before we begin; She was born in France where she lived until 18 months, where she was then whisked off to live in Los Angeles, CA. She met Michel at 18 years old, three years later they had their first child and since then, she is the mother of now four children; Christophe, Chloe, Christel and Clement. In 1998, the family moved to Washington D.C, where Laurence went back to school to get her degree in Architecture. She says her number one success is raising four beautiful children. Brava!

So without further adieu… I give you Laurence Richard.

The lovely Laurence Richard

Q: What were your first impressions when you first realized that by being with your restaurant man/woman, that you have become a part of the restaurant world?

A. When I met my husband I was 18 and a salesgirl in his very busy pastry shop in Beverly Hills, CA. We quickly became an item and had our first child. Life was blissful. Then, we opened our first restaurant! When he asked me to marry him, 3 months after the opening, I flat-out said “no”! How could I marry a man who left the house at 9am, came home at 2am and who, I knew, would never be home for birthdays, holidays, and family gatherings? It took me about 5 minutes but I did ultimately agree to marry him! So, I realized I was marrying the restaurant when I agreed to marry him and I knew it would be a difficult life which needed a lot of independence and no self-doubt but I figured I was going to give it a try and I certainly am glad I did, even if I was a single married mother for about 25 years!

Q. When did you know that you had what it took, within the parameters of his/her career, to find success in your relationship?

A. Since my Michel and I had been together 7 years before we got married, I was totally aware of whom I was marrying. I’m not sure I knew I had what it took in the beginning but I saw as the years went by, through the ups and downs of conjugal life, that we had what it took to make things work.

Q. What is the BEST part of being married to someone in the restaurant industry?

A. I would have to say that the best part of being married to someone in the restaurant industry is the special attention we receive when we dine out. We always get a little something from the kitchen or a glass of champagne. And of course we always dine at the very best restaurants in every town we visit!

Q.How do you handle the holidays knowing you are both going to be so busy at work?

A. Since it has always been a given that holidays are the busiest time of the year for the restaurant business, we work around it. For Mother’s Day, we do the brunch at our own restaurant for instance. For Christmas, we all make it to 5 o’clock mass together but then my husband goes back to the restaurant to work and we wait to eat dinner around 10pm. For New Year’s we celebrate as a family at the restaurant! Sometime’s we’ll celebrate a week early or a week late. It all works out and everyone in our family understands that this is how it is for us!

Q. How has achieving acclaim and success, within the restaurant industry, changed your relationship?

A. I really hope my husband’s success within the restaurant industry has not changed our relationship at all. He is still Michel and I am still Laurence. We are the parents of four outstanding human beings who have all come into their own selves and found their own passions in life, none of which have chosen to be chefs! We have all learned to live with the very big personality of Michel and understand that in order to be the success that he is, he needs to have space.