A Day in the Life of Charles Masson

February 13, 2015 5:43 PM

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A Day in the Life of Charles Masson

IN NOVEMBER 1974, 19-year-old Charles Masson was studying architecture and design at Carnegie Mellon University when he got a call from his mother: His father had taken ill; she needed help running the family business. That business was La Grenouille, opened by Masson’s parents in 1962 and considered by many to be New York’s iconic French restaurant. Over the next 40 years, Masson became the soul and face of the culinary mecca as its manager, serving U.S. presidents, fashion moguls and international royalty with his customary quiet gravity. Following a disagreement with his brother, Masson left La Grenouille last year and now, at 60, is embarking on a new chapter as the director at Chevalier, a restaurant inside New York City’s new Baccarat Hotel, which opens its doors in March.

Much like Gustave H, the fastidious concierge in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Masson seems like a man of a different era—and one whose instinct for hospitality is second nature. Dressed in Charvet and Turnbull & Asser and speaking in a low, urbane register, he possesses seemingly bottoml...

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