Chef Jean-Christophe Gros ~ Voila French Bistro
Nestled in a nondescript but upscale shopping plaza in northeast Scottsdale sits Voila French Bistro, a charming, refined eatery, where you’ll experience French cuisine at its finest. Chef Jean-Christophe Gros, a native of the Vosges region of France, has been mastering his craft for over 35 years, taking a modern twist on traditional French cuisine. The result is delectable, visually stunning dishes like Beef Bourguignon, Cod Filet and Hollandaise Sauce and Scallops in Puff Pastry.
As a child, Jean-Christophe loved helping his mother in the kitchen. Seeing both his passion and aptitude for cooking, she was able to get him a one-week stage at a Michelin-starred restaurant—a daunting, but unbelievably beneficial undertaking for a 15 year old. That experience solidified Jean-Christophe’s interest in cooking, and a year later he enrolled at a culinary school in eastern France. He survived the two grueling years of school, and entered France’s culinary scene. Over the years, he was able to work at restaurants like Les Bas-Rupts in Gerardmer, Le Dauphin in Toul, and Maison Tirel-Guérin in Gouesnière.
In 2007, he and his wife Ségolène, who love to travel, found themselves in Arizona, both visiting the Grand Canyon and spending some time in Scottsdale. He says that after only one day in Scottsdale, he knew that he wanted to open a restaurant here. What about it so captivated him? “The people were (and are) so nice,” he says. “And we loved the landscape and the climate. It was like a little paradise. It was just amazing for us!”
It was some time until the Gros family actually moved to Arizona, but after arriving in 2015, he and Ségolène got to work right away. They learned about Voila, and that the current owner was about to retire, and so the restaurant fell into their hands. Since then, they have lovingly worked to make it their own.
“I completely changed the menu to all of my own recipes and dishes,” says Jean-Christophe. “Everything on the menu is new. We also updated the dining room, dishes, glasses, furniture… Plus, Ségolène always puts out fresh flowers on the tables and added new flowers and cactus outside.” The result is a refined, intimate interior space with clean lines and décor reminiscent of their native France, and a lovely covered patio, surrounded by large baskets of flowers. Ségolène runs the front of the house, making guests feel welcome and well attended to while Jean-Christophe works his magic in the back.
We visited a few weeks before their lunch menu went on summer hiatus, and were pleased to be able to sample some of their lighter options (during the summer they are open for dinner only, Tuesday-Thursday from 5 pm to 8 pm, and Friday-Saturday from 5 pm to 8:30 pm). We started with the Escargots de Bourgogne, burgundy snails, which were properly chewy and tender, bathed in a rich bath of parsley butter and garlic. Next was the Assiette de Charcuteries, a dainty plate of vegetables and sumptuous homemade meats and pâtés, served with a fresh baguette. The entrees selections all looked delicious, but we wanted to try authentic quiche made by a true French master. My dining partner chose the Quiche Lorraine, an exceptionally rich, ingredient-packed version of the classic breakfast dish, and I (being a huge lover of mushrooms) went with the Quiche aux Champignons. People of Phoenix!—it was, hands down, the most delicious quiche I have ever had. It was warm and cheesy, compact but fluffy, and literally melted in my mouth. For dessert, at Ségolène’s suggestion, we tried the Crepe au Chocolat and Glace Vanille, simple in its ingredients, but to die for!
We had a fantastic experience, and thank Jean-Christophe and Ségolène for welcoming us into their lovely, stylish home away from home to enjoy a meal we’re still raving about. This needs to be your next ‘special occasion’ destination! Voila continues to grow and evolve, but they want to always keep it an intimate space.
“The size of the restaurant allows us to stay close to our customers, which makes it more like a family restaurant,” says Jean-Christophe. “We like to welcome people back, seeing them again and again. To us, this means we’ve done a good job.”
Trust me, Chef, you’ve done a good job. Merci beaucoup!