Daniel Rose, formerly of Paris’s much-lauded restaurant Spring, and currently of the bistro La Bourse et La Vie, and Chez la Vieille, and of New York’s Le Coucou, may be one of the most unlikely of French chefs—he isn’t French. At least not on his birth certificate. The Illinois-born Rose, however, is French at heart, and it shines through in his food. At Le Coucou, you’ll find on the menu quenelle de brochet “Route de Reims,” with Champagne beurre blanc and caviar, or “Tout le Lapin” (all of the rabbit), and at La Bourse a comforting veal pot-au-feu, a rack of lamb, and other bistro classics.

At St. John’s College, in New Mexico, Rose studied philosophy and Greek literature, continued his studies at the American University in Paris, and then followed his passion for French food and cooking to Lyon, formalizing his training at the Institut Bocuse for a year. In 2006, after several years of stages, at Bruneau, in Brussels, and the Hotel Meurice with chef Yannick Alléno, the relatively unseasoned chef opened the tiny Spring, completely by himself. And the French fell in love with his joyous and naturally expert take on their culinary traditions.

Rose closed Spring after a 10-year run, in 2016, so he could concentrate on his other Paris restaurants (and open Le Coucou with business partner Stephen Starr). He’s still doing old-school French but in a way that is all his. New York received the restaurant with open arms. So did the critics. Le Coucou won the James Beard Foundation award for Best New Restaurant of 2017.