From Paris to North Platte
From Paris to North Platte, Chef Chuck Lalanne brings the taste of gourmet to Nebraska.
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(This story originally appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of Nebraska Life Magazine)
CHEF CHUCK LALANNE of North Platte’s Canteen Grill is well-known to area residents and to travelers dropping by for a gourmet bite to eat just a hop, skip and a dash from bustling Interstate 80.
But this classically trained gourmand is no epicurean import. Like the fresh herbs Lalanne dashes into his canteen kitchen creations, his family’s roots run deep in North Platte.
His French grandfather, Georges Lalanne, immigrated to the United States in 1928 and worked all over the country before coming to North Platte and running the country club, a position Chef Chuck held years later.
In 1958, Georges opened Chef Lalanne’s Kitchen in North Platte, and quickly expanded to McCook, Kearney, Holdrege and Hastings.
“My father, George, brought me to work with him and I’d head straight for the kitchen,” said Lalanne, who earned his stripes the old fashioned way with hard work, early mornings and long nights.
Experience, paired with a childhood filled with all-things food, would prove to be the ultimate education. “The first thing I ever asked my father to cook was French onion soup. We made it together, from scratch, no recipe.”
By the time he was 18, Chuck had already entered the restaurant world as a sous chef, and has since apprenticed under Europe’s most demanding chefs.
For more than a decade, Chuck has appeared on North Platte’s KNOP-TV in segments entitled “Cooking with Chef Lalanne,” and his Canteen Grille is busier than ever.
The restaurant is famous for its steaks au gratin potatoes, and the sauces and dressings made from the stack of more than 300 recipes that Chef Chuck inherited from his grandfather.
When you’ve got a rich and tasteful family heritage – two parts passion, a lot of hard work and a dash of creativity – you’ve got all of the ingredients for success. And it looks delicious.