Vincent Francoual was born in Puy-L'Eveque, in the Cahors region of France. He began culinary school in Souillac at the age of fifteen. Four years later, Vincent earned his diploma C.A.P. of Cuisine and C.A.P. in Pastry. Vincent spent a summer working in a French resort town on the Atlantic Ocean where he began his love for seafood preparations.
In Europe he spent years gaining experience working at the Winchester Essex Hotel in Great Britain; the Hotel des Neiges, part of the Relais & Chateaux Propriety at Courchevel Resort in the French Alps; the Arraya, a One Michelin Star restaurant in the Basque Country of France; and for Giorgio Armani in Florence, Italy. After a short stint working for Celebrity Cruise Lines, Vincent needed a change of scenery and moved to the United States. He intended to stay only six months...
His first job in the United States was as head chef of Gaulin's in Elmsford, NY, a suburb of New York City. It was here that he met his wife, Joanne. In 1995, Vincent accepted a position as chef de partie at the renowned four star restaurant, Le Bernadin under chef Eric Ripert. Six months later he became sous-chef . Working under Eric Ripert at Le Bernadin caused Vincent's passion for cooking to swell. Eager to learn, Vincent accepted a position as chef de partie at "Mobil Five Star" Lespinasse Restaurant. The effect of legendary Gray Kunz's use of seasonings and fusion of Asian and French styles is still evident in Vincent's cooking today.
In 1997, Vincent moved to Minneapolis with his wife Joanne who had been transferred for work. Once in the Twin Cities, Vincent became executive chef at Cafe Un, Deux, Trois. Here Vincent began to make a name for himself with his contemporary take on French dishes. He left Cafe Un, Deux, Trois to work on opening a restaurant of his own. While working on opening the restaurant, Vincent started Amuse Bouche, a private dining company, and taught classes in the culinary program at Art Institutes International Minnesota. On August 28, 2001 after two years of work, Vincent - A Restaurant opened its doors to the public.
Since 2001, Vincent has stayed busy both in and out of the restaurant. Personally, he has taken an interest in marathons and triathlons. In July of 2010 Vincent was a finisher in the Coeur d'Alene Ironman Competition. Professionally, Vincent has been a large supporter of Fraser, raising close to 230,000 dollars to benefit children with disabilities. Vincent also enjoys his time as a guest instructor and lecturer at Chef's Gallery, Cooks of Crocus Hill, Kitchen Window and Williams-Sonoma. He can also be seen showing off his talent during cooking demonstrations at the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show, KARE 11 News, the Minneapolis Food & Wine Experience and the Animal Humane Fall Wine Dinner.
2009 was a turning point in Vincent's career. The Vincent Burger, which was created in 2003, had finally gained recognition and respect in a city filled with burger joints and Juicy Lucys. While on a mission to find the 50 best burgers in the 50 states, The Food Network Magazine voted The Vincent Burger the best in Minnesota! Soon to follow was the inagural season of Target Field, proud server of the Vincent Burger.
In addition to everything going on outside of the restaurant, Vincent - A Restaurant has gained respect as a staple in the Downtown Minneapolis restaurant scene and has been awarded gracious recognition in publications such as Zagat, Wine Spectator, City Pages, Mpls./St. Paul Magazine, Star Tribune, and St. Paul Pioneer Press. Vincent himself was a 2010 James Beard Award Semi-finalist for Best Chef Midwest.
Not much has changed about Vincent since the beginning of his cooking career. He has prided himself on simplicity in his cooking style with a solid focus on using natural ingredients and working with the beauty in food. Vincent maintains that attaining the perfect texture to a dish and the p erfect sear on fish is just as important as the sauce that is drizzled around the plate. But, at the end of the day, Vincent is happy sharing good food with good friends.