Original Article here | By Linda Domingo and Alli Tong
On May 4, in a private reception in Anaheim, Laguna Culinary Arts chef Maurice Brazier received the title of commandeur de L’Ordre du Merite Agricole (commander of the French Ministry of Agriculture) from the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles. The ranking is the highest possible decoration for a French citizen for services to agriculture; Maurice receives the award for his lifelong commitment to promoting French culture and cuisine worldwide. The chef received the first level of the award, chevalier, in 1979, and the second level, officier, in 1988. The top ranking of commandeur is has been held by only 400 people since the creation of the order by French Minister of Agriculture Jules Meline in 1883.
The elegeant reception included cocktails and appetizers, such as tuna tartare, catered by Anaheim White House, where Maurice serves as executive chef of catering. Afterward, a ceremony bestowing the top honor to Maurice was presented by Claude Girault, the elected representative of the French in the USA, and Axel Cruau, consul general of France in Los Angeles. Upon the heartfelt pinning of the commandeur de L’Ordre du Merite Agricole badge, a buffet dinner of prime rib, seafood paella, scalloped potatoes and lobster ravioli was served, also catered by the Anaheim White House.
“Maurice is a ‘chef’s chef,’ ” says Nancy Milby, founder of Laguna Culinary Arts. “[He] is well known by all the French chefs that are household names, such as Paul Bocuse, [and] Joel Robuchon.” Chef Maurice, who began his culinary career at just 14 years old, had also been appointed one of 100 seats of the Acadamie Culinaire de France and celebrated his 79th birthday in May.