Born and raised in Belgium and France, Raphael Francois studied hotel management and culinary arts, ultimately earning his Culinary Certificate. He began his professional career in the late 90's working at several acclaimed restaurants in Brussels, notably Le Sea Grill and Comme Chez Soi .
Eager to expand his culinary horizons, Raphael set his sights on France and held positions in Michelin starred establishments such as the Four Seasons George V and Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, and later was executive chef at Michel Trama (3 Michelin stars)
Returning to Paris in early 2006, Raphael worked closely with Hélène Darroze as executive head chef in her eponymous restaurant, Restaurant Hélène Darroze which has 2 Michelin stars, as well her other Paris projects including La Salle à Manger and Le Salon d'Hélène. After several successful years alongside Darroze in Paris, Raphael relocated to London to take the executive chef position at the Connaught Hotel and the fine dining restaurant at the Connaught, which was awarded two Michelin stars in 2011.
In 2015 Raphael made the leap across the pond to take the helm of the iconic Le Cirque restaurant in New York, before moving to Washington DC in 2017 to open Le DeSales – his first restaurant as chef partner. Continuing his journey west, now Raphael is getting set to open his first restaurant in California as Tesse Restaurant in West Hollywood prepares for a Spring 2018 opening.