Didier Elena, Culinary Director of Chefs Club International, leads the restaurant group’s unique culinary programming. Originally from Monaco and the son of an Italian fisherman, he grew up working in the kitchen at his uncle’s restaurant on holidays. In 1988, while getting a routine haircut at a local barbershop in his hometown, Didier sat next to Alain Ducasse and shortly after began working in Ducasse’s Louis XV, while also earning a culinary degree from École Supérieure de Cuisine in Paris.
Didier spent more than 25 years in the world’s most esteemed kitchens from New York to Tokyo, with a total of 15 Michelin stars awarded to the locations. In 2001, as Executive Chef of Ducasse’s first restaurant in the US, Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, he received four stars from The New York Times and was voted Best New Restaurant by The James Beard Foundation. As a consultant, Didier has opened seven additional restaurants with Alain Ducasse around the world including Ostape in Biddaray, France, and Beige in Tokyo. He has co-authored three cookbooks: The Flavors of France, La Bonne Cuisine de Francoise Bernard et Alain Ducasse, and Les Ateliers d’Alain Ducasse. His mastery of classic, fine-dining cuisine complements the eclectic styles of the collective of Chefs selected to create Chefs Clubs’ seasonal menus. Didier and his wife Aude moved back to the US in 2010 and live in Astoria, Queens with their children, Jade and Armand.