Christian (the Chef de Cuisine) is a native of Valance in Southern France, and at a young age, was trained in the French resort areas of the Cote d'Azur and Chamonix. Christian has worked in some of the finest kitchens all over the world, in such far-flung places as: Scotland and London in the UK (Glen Eagles Hotel, Coq d'Or), the islands of Bahamas (Sonesta Beach Hotel), New York City (La Caravalle, Lutece, Le Mistaral), and San Francisco (Hyatt Regency Hotel). In 1974 Christian opened his first restaurant, L'Escargot, in Burlingame, with partner Gerard Canese. In 1984 he opened a second L'Escargot in Napa, where fate brought him together with Jennifer.
Jennifer was born in Morocco and raised in both Ohio and Northern California. Jennifer was also raised at a young age, under the guidance of her mother, a consummate hostess and student of fine French cooking, and father, a Francophile and wine expert. Later, Jennifer trained professionally at the Michigan beach resort (White Birch Lodge) and the Hotel and Restaurant Management School at the University of Denver. Jennifer's early career was based in the hotel industry in Denver (Aircoa-a hotel management company) and Napa (Clarion Hotel) as a dining and banquet manager. Knowing the newest and finest restaurants in Napa was part of Jennifer's job, and as destiny would have it, that is what brought her to Christian.
When the newest French restaurant came to Napa, Jennifer took her mother to try out the place. When the appetizer arrived (Escargot Abbaye with a delightful tarragon sauce) Jen told her mom, "This sauce is so good, I'm going to marry this guy!" And that's exactly what she did. In the Autumn of 1985 Jennifer and Christian were married in a hot air balloon floating above the Napa Valley. The restaurant in Napa sold soon after the couple went to live in Burlingame. Christian worked at La Reserve in San Mateo, as they started a family, two boys: Christian deux and Shane.
Putting together the culinary and hospitality skills of the couple, it was natural that they would want to open their own business. In 1988 Jennifer and Christian moved to Placerville and took ownership of Zachary Jacques Restaurant-Country French Cuisine. The country side setting, with a house behind the restaurant, was a great place to raise two young boys and still manage a demanding business. For seventeen years, Zachary Jacques was the pride, joy and focus of the Masse family. Supported by a wonderful local clientele, the restaurant and family flourished.
In 2005, it was time for a new challenge. Christian has always been known for his great sauces, baked goods and charcuterie, and Jennifer for her rich and beautiful desserts. Both Jennifer and Christian have always enjoyed their relationships with their customers. With that in mind, they decided to open a gourmet market and prepared foods "to go" business. ALLEZ! GOOD FOOD ON THE GO was established in the charming village of Historic El Dorado in the heart of the Gold Country. The shop was located in a historic building which is also home to a beautiful and unique Gallery. ALLEZ! garnered praise and endorsements from the wonderful El Dorado county community. Christian, with the help of Michael Masters, produced sandwiches, salads, soups and specialty dishes that became staples for ALLEZ'S dedicated clientele. The demand for ALLEZ'S delectable cuisine grew over the years, and it became apparent that the small space was no longer large enough to meet the increasing demand. At the end of 2012, Jennifer and Christian made the decision to move ALLEZ! to a new, and larger, home in the quaint town of Diamond Springs. December 2012 saw the closing of one chapter, and the beginning of a new and exciting one...