The French Connection

After thirty years in Memphis, River Oaks chef/owner Jose Gutierrez reflects upon his distinguished culinary career.

Chef Jose Gutierrez in the mid-1980s at Chez Philippe.

photograph courtesy Jose Guitierrez

(page 1 of 4)

Mid-afternoon, around 2 p.m., is espresso time at José Gutierrez’ River Oaks restaurant. Before us on the sleek bar top is the paragon of espressos: a rich dark base crowned with a centimeter of velvety caramel-colored crema. Nearby, Gutierrez’ phone displays an identical image to that before us on the bar.

“I made this one,” he says, pointing to the espresso pictured on his phone. “The machine made this,” he says, pointing to the one in front of him.

“Watch,” he says. He walks to a machine at the end of the bar, pushes a button, and out pours a perfect espresso. “I could make it myself, but this is faster.”

Gutierrez leaves the espresso-making to the espresso maker. He takes the upcoming Saturday-night dinner service with a laidback assuredness. After 30 years in Memphis, 22 of them spent at Chez Philippe in The Peabody, Gutierrez has mellowed. He is, after all, the dean of Memphis cuisine, a master chef who has seen restaurants come and go, and a mentor who has played a significant role in nurturing many of the individuals who are at the center of this city’s contemporary culinary scene. And it’s been quite the journey . . .   


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

Fifty Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About St. Jude

January 1, 2012 01:00 AM

The Top Ten New Restaurants in Memphis for 2015

March 5, 2015 04:54 PM


March 1, 2008 12:00 AM
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Stories

The Insider's Guide to 42 Memphis Bars and Taprooms

November 12, 2015 03:59 PM

The Top 10 Memphis Dishes of 2015

November 12, 2015 02:37 PM

Culinary Entrepreneurs Bring Creativity and Business Savvy to the Community Table

Women chefs, purveyors, and restauranteurs shine spotlight on local and regional food.
October 29, 2015 09:36 AM

Add your comment:
Edit Module


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Related Articles

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags