Roger Fessaguet was chef
and eventual owner who
presided over the kitchen
of the fabled La Caravelle in New
York City, turning out French classics.
A reservation book reads like a
who’s who of the era — Ambassador
Joseph P. Kennedy, H.J. Heinz
II, Baron de Rothschild, David
O. Selznick, James Beard, Richard
Rodgers and Mrs.
Opened in 1960 by three former employees
of Le Pavillon, the restaurant that
originated in the French Pavilion of the
1939 World’s Fair, La Caravelle was called
“the finest restaurant in New York on
almost every count,” by New York Times
critic, Craig Claiborne.
Fessaguet is among a handful of
French entrepreneurs and legendary
chefs who opened Manhattan’s haute
cuisine restaurants in the 1940s, ’50s
and ’60s offering classical cuisine in upscale
settings with the service and amenities expected by luminaries
in politics, business, society and entertainment who frequented
Through a generous gift from Fessaguet,
the Culinary Arts Museum at
Johnson & Wales University has received
an extensive collection of menus, original recipes, cookbooks,
journals, reservation books and other documents from the era.
His gift will provide a unique collection of resource materials to
students and faculty, and a better understanding of the evolution
of fine dining in this country. Mr. Fessaguet retired in 1988, and
the restaurant closed in 2004.
He is happy to know my collection will be made available
to the professionals of the future, and it will be maintained as a
historical perspective of La Caravelle.
clockwise from left: The kitchen brigade at
Le Pavillon in 1959; Chefs Pierre Franey ’87
Hon. (center) and Roger Fessaguet (right) in
the kitchen of Le Pavillon in the late 1950s.
The cover of a pre-theater dinner menu from
La Caravelle in the 1980’s.