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Business Observer Wednesday, May 3, 2017 1 year ago

Michelin three-star chef partners with culinary group

Christian Le Squer will work with the Immokalee Culinary Accelerator.

NAPLES — Michelin three-star chef Christian Le Squer agreed to develop a program with the Florida Culinary Accelerator in Immokalee.

Le Squer, based in France, will develop a mentorship program, master classes and a competition-based cooking opportunity for new products to be manufactured at the accelerator. Construction on the accelerator will be complete this summer. The accelerator will provide space, equipment and services for culinary entrepreneurs to bring their products from kitchen to market. The mentorship program and cooking competition will be solidified by fall.

During his three-year commitment, Le Squer will visit the U.S. frequently from France. According to a press release, the Culinary Accelerator and Economic Incubators Inc., the accelerator's parent organization, have been developing the partnership for 18 months.

“I want to be proud of my work and want to feel good about the project I choose to be my first in America,” Le Squer says in a statement. “I feel a connection with this project that already makes me proud. It can only grow from here.”

The manager of Lozano's Restaurant in Immokalee, Danny Gonzalez, wants to be one of the first people involved in the membership-based accelerator. “We get tons of customers that want to buy our salsa by the gallon but we just run out,” Gonzalez says in a statement. “We have to turn people away.”

A $12,500 grant from Florida will fund the first year of the education component Le Squer will provide. His travel expenses will be funded through private donations.

During Le Squer's recent first trip to Florida and the U.S., he tasted key lime pie for the first time and sampled locally grown produce from several farmers markets.

LeSquer led Le Cinq restaurant at the Four Seasons George V in Paris to its third Michelin star in 2016. He's earned three Michelin stars for 12 consecutive years.

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