When Chef Loic Barnieu isn’t portraying the French Patriot Marquis de Lafayette for the American Historic Theatre touring the East coast, he can usually be found creating a savory entrée at one of his two downtown Media, PA, restaurants.
Barnieu, owner and self-taught executive chef of Picasso Restaurant and Bar and La Belle Epoque Café in Media, PA grew up in a small village in Burgundy, France. Barnieu always had a knack for cooking but admits he learned a lot from his grandfathers who were both in the business – one a bakery owner and the other a restaurant owner and chef. When he wasn’t busy observing his grandfathers at work, he pursued his other passion – acting.
In fact, shortly after high school, Barnieu moved to Paris and enrolled in theatre school. He worked in production for a French television network and appeared in numerous plays. But Barnieu felt he needed a change of pace and scenery, so with little fanfare he moved to the United States and settled in Philadelphia. Barnieu quickly picked up the English language and even became involved in the Philadelphia theatre scene.
For now, Barnieu has his sights set on creating two of the most distinctive restaurants in the Philadelphia area. La Belle was awarded “Best French Restaurant” by Main Line Today in its July 2006 edition. Two years earlier the publication named it the “Best Restaurant in Media.” The trendy Picasso is also on the move with is Spanish influenced menu.
Barnieu resides in Middletown Township, PA, with his wife, Joanne, and their four children, Emma, Camille, Henry, and Benjamin.