Roland Liccioni is often a bit of a mystery. Born
in Saigon in the 1950s, Roland’s Vietnamese mother and Corsican
father fell in love during a time when many European ex-patriots
lingered in Vietnam. They gave their son the French name of Roland,
and settled in the southwest region of France in 1956. The Liccioni
family moved into Biarritz and opened a Vietnamese restaurant. Chef
Roland spent the majority of his time playing professional soccer
and assisting at the restaurant. At 15 years old, it was time for
Roland to choose a path, and Roland headed to culinary school for
three years of training.
After culinary school, it was time to experience the kitchens of
Paris. Roland worked at the Brassirie Bofinger, owned by Eric de
Rothschild. It was here that the culinary genius blossomed, mastering
classical French cooking as though it was second nature for him.
In the mid 1970s, Roland left for England, and found success with
the Roux Brothers at the Waterside Inn, as he quickly progressed
from Chef de Parti to a Sous Chef position in merely three months
The 1980s brought Roland to Illinois. He originally assisted a friend
at Alouette Restaurant in Highwood for six months, just prior to
the grand opening of Carlos in Highland Park. Chef Roland established
his name at Carlos, creating a four star restaurant merely 2-3 years
later. As far as awards and culinary respect were concerned, this
was only the beginning.
After seven years as Executive Chef and Chef de Cuisine at Carlos,
Roland had the opportunity to join Le Francais in Wheeling. For
ten years, Chef Roland achieved a five-star Mobil rating, five Diamond
awards, the best restaurant ratings from Zagat, accolades from Food
& Wine Magazine, and in 1997, he won the Best Chef in the Midwest
Award, a highly sought after honor. Under his direction, Le Francais
was thought of as one of, if not the, best Restaurant in the United
States. Chef Roland’s achievements literally put Chicago on
the map of the culinary world.
In 2000, Chef Roland stirred up downtown Chicago as he took over
the stoves of Les Nomades. In two short years, the four stars followed
him and it was clear that wherever Roland Liccioni cooks, four stars,
incredible cuisine and an amazing restaurant is the result.
2004 brought a new challenge and great partnerships to Roland: the
successful opening of Le Lan, with Chef Arun Sampanthavivat of Arunâ€™s,
and restaurant proprietor, Howard Davis of Marche, Opera, Red Light,
Gioco and Saiko. Le Lan presents French-Vietnamese cuisine, and
was named one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2004,
as well as one of the top new restaurants to delight Chicago.
Now, as 2005 begins, Chef Roland Liccioni returns to his throne,
taking over the reign as Chef / Partner of Le Francais restaurant
in Wheeling. Proprietor Mike Moran feels, “We are thrilled
to have Roland back to carry on the tradition of Le Francais”.
It was a mere three months before the Chicago Tribune awarded four
stars to Chef Roland Liccioni and Le Francais.
Chef Roland is a linguist of four languages: he often uses French,
Spanish, English and a bit of Vietnamese in the kitchen. Roland
is an amazing gardener, often bringing his herbs and vegetables
right into the kitchen and onto his menu.
All those who interact with Chef Roland, whether in the kitchen
as a chef or simply as a dining guest, can savor each experience,
as his manner, culinary brilliance and blatant wisdom shine in every
the 30-year-old legend tucked away in Wheeling and once called “the
best French restaurant west of Paris”, continues to present
fine classical French dining.
Le Francais is located at 269 South Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling,
Le Francais is open for lunch, Tuesday - Friday from 11:30 a.m.-2
p.m.; and for dinner Monday - Saturday from 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m., and
closed on Sunday except for private functions, Easer and Mother's
Attire is business casual.
Valet parking is complimentary. Reservations are strongly recommended
and may be made by calling (847) 541-7470.