Sunday, May 30, 2010
He had a rep. He knew the Kennedies and flirted with Jackie. He knew Brando. The French heart-throb actor Alain Delon stayed at his beach house. People who were close to him suspected he might be gay but this was not open to discussion. He squired young women and sported a year-round tan. For a short while he owned a giant catamaran that may or may not have set a world speed record. He was charming, affable, devious when necessary, a pretty good businessman who wrote his own rules, made and lost a ton of money. He had one of the first creperies in the East Coast, and his genius lay in anticipating the next restaurant fad.
Beatrice Patton discovered him after World War II working in a hotel in
. General George Patton’s widow found him smart, handsome and charming, and brought him to the States. He spent the summers at her estate teaching her French and worked in Restaurants in Morocco New York and in the off-season. When he came to Florida , in 1955, it was only natural that he would gravitate towards the snobbiest of all restaurants, the Jockey Club. He became maitre d’ there and the important people liked him because he was knowledgeable and discreet. But discretion had its limits. When invited to parties hosted by Washington, DC ’s French community, he kept the guests enthralled with tales of the American high and mighty’s behaviors in his restaurant. Washington
In 1971 he met a gorgeous young French woman named Colette Vacher, and the two became a staple of the society pages. His good friends suspected the eventual marriage was a convenience for both parties, but there again, this was not discussed. Jacques and Coco were
’s It couple. Washington
When his creperies closed (he had one in
Georgetown, one in Bethesda and one in Alexandria), Jacques gave up being a restaurateur, moved with Coco to , and spent his time fishing, cooking and carving driftwood. Key West
I just found out Jacques died last April.