Chef Patron Raphael Duntoye
Nigerian born Chef Patron Raphael Duntoye changed course in 1995 from his chosen career of engineering to follow a life long passion for food and cooking. Joining Butlers Wharf Chef School he embarked on a journey that would lead him to become Chef Patron of an award winning kitchen at La Petite Maison.
Raphael spent a defining 5 years working at the side of the famed Pierre Koffman at the 3 Michelin Star La Tante Claire, Raphael credits this time and Koffman, with teaching him how to “really cook”. He is in esteemed company, Koffmans’ roll call of protégés is one of the most distinguished in British culinary history, it includes Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing, Tom Aikens, Michel Roux Jr as well as the original “enfant terrible”.
Soon ready to spread his wings, take on new challenges and cuisine, Raphael went on to work as Executive Sous Chef at Sketch in Mayfair and later Senior Sous Chef at the Japanese restaurant Zuma in Knightsbridge, his heart however remained with the flavours of France.
Having built a reputation for subtlety, sureness, a lightness of touch and a reverence for the best fresh produce, Raphael with his pedigree in French cooking was an obvious choice for a new French/Mediterranean project La Petite Maison planned by Indian businessman and Zuma’s principal owner Arjun Waney.
It was in June of 2007 on a light filled street corner of Brooks Mews in Mayfair, in his own kitchen for the first time, that Raphael created his defining menu, simple French food made from the best hand picked produce…welcome to La Petite Maison. Then in October 2010 Raphael expanded, by opening La Petite Maison in Dubai, right in the middle of DIFC.
By May 2013 Raphael reopened the acclaimed oldest private members club in London, The Arts Club, as the Chef Director.
Now in the midst of expanding La Petite Maisons, by opening one in Brickell Miami USA and then Abu Dhabi UAE.
Last year Raphael wanted to give back to his Native country, Nigeria. So with a group of other like minded people, started a charity in which he is one of the trustees. The Christianna Foundation is a charity where money is raised for underprivileged schools in rural Nigeria, to build infrastructure and provide the basic materials, in order for teachers to be able to teach and for pupils to learn.