Shared life of love & food French couple lives for restaurant and each other by SHAWNA DIXSON PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
people just loved my cooking — people in the movie industry — and I thought ‘wow!’ ” Michéle also catered side jobs ow many people can look for famous actors, including Julie back at their life and say Andrews and Barbara Streisand. they only ever loved one She explained that French chefs person? For most, love at first sight were in high demand at the is a fantasy reserved for the movtime, because of the success of ies. But for Michéle and Norbert Julia Childs. (pronounced “nor-bear”) After 17 years of Juhasz, owners of the Port working in Hollywood Angeles French restautogether, Norbert rant C’est Sí Bon, the and Michéle story is worthy of a discovered true romance. the Olympic Michéle met Peninsula Norbert at a on a whim. party in Lyon, They bought a France in 1961. new BMW and Just 16 at the decided to go for time, Michéle a road trip to said he “tricked” break it in. her into fallThey knew ing for him. someone who “I went on his had relatives on motorcycle. I had the Peninsula, to go back at 10 so they made o’clock that night the long drive or else my mother up and were would kill me,” instantly hooked. Michéle said. “So I PHOTO BY SHAWNA DIXSON “We thought it was climbed on the back and This stained glass rooster, crafted by Dana incredibly beautiful,” then with his motorcycle Vail of Mount Vernon (local artist at the Michéle said. “We thought he went ‘zzzzoom’ and I went, time), adorns the restaurant's entry. it would be nice to do a little ‘ah!’ and that was forever ago.” French restaurant here. When asked why they immi“But everybody thought we were grated to the United States, crazy, because at the time, it was Michéle said it was because Norbert Despite having no formal training, Michéle found work as a cook. logger country.” remembered how nice the U.S. She told people that loggers Michéle went to work for Robert soldiers were when they visited his Wise, director of “West Side Story” would appreciate the way she cooks hometown, Mouscron, Belgium, at the end of World War II, in 1945. and “The Sound of Music,” among — once they try it. Michéle loves seafood, but was many others, as a private chef. He was 10 at the time. “I knew how to cook because, you dismayed to find that all the fish Michéle and Norbert loved served on the Peninsula was batknow, when you’re French your America and its people, so they tered and deep-fried. wanted to live in the United States. parents cook. They’re very big on They got their visas and moved to food,” Michéle said. “But I was not that great. I just took off on it and Hollywood in 1964. SHARED continues on 14 >>
Each found work quickly. Norbert is an accomplished violinist. He joined a musicians guild and played violin for movie soundtracks.
Lifelong Journey • JULY 2019