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Joachim Splichal to be honored with the Richard Melman Innovator Award

Joachim Splichal to be honored with the Richard Melman Innovator Award

Restaurant Hospitality magazine has selected Joachim Splichal as the 2012 recipient of the Richard Melman Innovator of the Year Award. The famed chef and restaurateur will be honored during the MUFSO Super Show in Dallas September 30th.

“We created the Melman award more than a decade ago to honor one of the country’s greatest restaurant operators of all time,” said Restaurant Hospitality editor-in-chief Michael Sanson, referring to Rich Melman, the mastermind behind Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago. “Joachim Splichal was a great choice for this year’s award because he’s not only one of the country’s finest chefs, but he’s also an exceptional restaurateur who’s demonstrated that he can grow a world-class business.”

Melman, who last year was named the country’s Outstanding Restaurateur by the James Beard Foundation, called Joachim Splichal a wonderful, creative talent. “I have always respected the fact that he is a great chef, as well as a savvy businessman. I am thrilled that he will be receiving the Richard Melman Innovator of the Year Award.”

Splichal is a leading figure in America's evolving food and restaurant industry. He opened the renowned Patina Restaurant in Los Angeles in 1989, and that restaurant, and several others that followed, eventually led to a partnership that would have him overseeing the culinary operations of an empire that includes restaurants, a catering company and foodservice facilities at cultural centers and sports and entertainment complexes.

After establishing a firm footing in Los Angeles, Splichal joined forces with famed restaurateur Nick Valenti in 1999 and the bi-coastal company now operates more than 60 foodservice locations in New York and California.

Despite his business acumen, Splichal is first and foremost a dynamic chef. The New York Times describes his cooking style as "clearly rooted in classic French cuisine, yet he adds a California sensibility that both lightens it and provides visual whimsy. If Mr. Splichal's cooking has a trademark, it might be called the crackerjack factor — there is a little surprise every time."

In 1995, Splichal was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America.

Born and raised in Spaichingen, a small village in Germany, he left his home country at 18 to work in the hospitality industry. He perfected his culinary training in France, where he worked as chef saucier at La Bonne Auberge, a Michelin three- star restaurant in Antibes, and at the legendary L'Oasis in La Napoule. At 23, he was hired as a sous chef by Jacques Maximin, who became his professional mentor at the Chantecler restaurant in the Hotel Negresco in Nice.

Splichal came to the United States in 1981 as Executive Chef for the newly established Regency Club in Los Angeles. His reputation spread, and he proved wildly successful at the Seventh Street Bistro in downtown Los Angeles, an establishment he helped develop from the ground up. He left to open Max Au Triangle in 1984. With this firm footing in L.A., Splichal was able to open his flagship, Patina.

The Richard Melman Innovator of the Year Award recipient was selected by the editorial board of Restaurant Hospitality, a leading resource for full-service restaurant knowledge. Other recipients of The Melman Award include José Andrés, Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, Michael Mina and Todd English.

For information about MUFSO and to register, visit or call 813-627-6992.

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