Long before Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse and Charlie Palmer arrived in Las Vegas, André Rochat was providing world-class cuisine and sophisticated service, easily satisfying the most discriminating high rollers. Today, while he shares the limelight with some of America’s most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs, Rochat remains the dean of Las Vegas chefs.
Rochat was born in the French Alps where his family owned a charcuterie in the village of La Rochette. After learning the business—beginning at the tender age of five—and inheriting the gift of cooking from his mother, he left home at 14 to apprentice at Leon de Lyon, the renowned Michelin two-star restaurant in the heart of Lyon, in the region known as the cradle of French gastronomy. Later, he took a job at the Hôtel du Mont-Blanc in Megève, not far from home, and followed with a military assignment as chef to a French naval commander, a prestigious appointment for a rising culinary star.
In 1965, Rochat departed his native France, arriving in Boston with nothing but $5, a bagful of knives and a head full of youthful dreams. After cooking at several prestigious East Coast hotels including Boston’s Charter House and Washington’s Mayflower and enjoying a stint as an in-flight chef for United Airlines, he drifted west, eventually landing in Las Vegas—a long way from La Rochette. In 1973, he opened a successful business, Savoy French Bakery, after observing the absence of an authentic French boulangerie in Las Vegas.
In 1980, Rochat founded his cozy French restaurant, Andre’s, which would eventually become one of Las Vegas’ most venerable and acclaimed establishments.
Despite its location in downtown Las Vegas, word quickly spread Andre’s, with the rustic ambiance of a French country auberge, was the place for an intimate gourmet dinner in the burgeoning metropolis. Since then, Andre’s has set the standard for culinary excellence in Las Vegas and even the much-publicized arrival of celebrity chefs from L.A., New York and San Francisco didn’t detract from the restaurant’s superlative reputation and immense following. As LVCitylife.com once put it, “Andre’s is what people think of when someone says, ‘take me to the nicest place in town.’”
In 1997, Rochat opened a second location on the Strip, Andre’s Restaurant and Lounge at Monte Carlo, which subsequently closed in 2016. In 2001, he opened Alizé on top of the Palms Casino Resort, the hip hotel that has profoundly altered the dynamics of Las Vegas nightlife. In early 2017, Andre's Bistro & Bar will open, returning Rochat's legacy to the warmth of a neighborhood restaurant and ambience.
Described by his peers as having no ego, he is regarded as a superb mentor to younger talents. Recognized in 2008 and 2009, Rochat accomplished his life dream when two of his restaurants were recognized by the Michelin Guide with one star rating.
Rochat, a passionate collector, maintains one of the most extensive and exclusive collections of Cognacs in the world, displayed throughout his fine restaurants—yet another reason discriminating diners enjoy spending an evening with the legendary chef who put Las Vegas on the culinary map.