You’d think a chef with five Michelin stars and credit as a founding father of nouvelle cuisine would cast a big shadow in the kitchen—especially when it is his son following in his considerable footsteps. However, the second-to-the-throne and general manager at Restaurant Guy Savoy, Franck Savoy, says that’s not the case.
“I don’t live in his shadow, nor would he say he casts one,” the 31-year-old says. “He creates the world-renowned cuisine we all know and love, and I make sure the restaurant and staff runs as efficiently as possible. We are one team and we’re in this together. We have the same philosophy and vision of what need to be done.”
When asked how they differ, he laughs and says, “I am 26 years younger.”
Still, having his father’s name on the door does add a certain degree of pressure. “It is so special, [yet] very challenging, because I don’t want to disappoint him,” he says. “It is harder because I don’t want to disappoint a dad and a boss.”
Earning both his father’s and employees’ respect has been a lifelong task for the younger Savoy. While he probably could have ridden the coattails of his father’s kitchen whites to a job in the family business, Franck worked his way up.
“When I was 12 years old, my father made me work in the kitchen peeling vegetables,” he recalls. “I was so proud.” He eventually graduated from vegetable peeling to far more serious roles within the family empire, but not before taking several entry-level positions in the hotel industry. He worked as a bellman at a Hyatt hotel in Paris, then as a receptionist and a housekeeper, among other blue-collar jobs. He also attended college, achieving a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and hotel business management.
In 2004, Franck helped his father open Le Chiberta, a restaurant next to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and it earned a Michelin star. The next year, he and his then-wife came to Las Vegas to prepare to open Guy’s first and only restaurant in the United States.
Guy did not hesitate to ask Franck to move halfway around the world to open and run a restaurant for him.
“I have and will always trust his qualities,” Guy says. And he insists there is no nepotism afoot. “There is no difference between Franck and other executives.”
Geographically speaking, the father and son live opposite lives: Guy makes the trip from Paris to Las Vegas just two weeks a year, in May and November, and Franck lives here full time, traveling it back to France just a few times a year.
When they’re not working, Guy says their time together is as precious as it is unpretentious. His favorite thing to do with Franck outside of the restaurant is barbecue. “He puts on the grill, and I cook the meat,” he says.
“Because food runs in the family, the impression may be that it’s some grand meal,” Franck observes, “but really … just being able to be together and spend time is special enough.”