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Comptroller honors Cafe des Artistes

(L to r) Chef Loic Jaffres, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Commissioner President Francis "Jack" Russell

Leonardtown, MD -- Noontime patrons at the Café des Artistes in Leonardtown got an extra show with their meal on Tuesday. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot apologized to the diners for interrupting their meal to tell them he was there to present a proclamation to restaurant’s owner, Chef Loic Francois Jaffres.

With a number of dignitaries crowding into the dining room Franchot presented the proclamation in English and then in what he descried as “bad French” in deference to Jaffres, who was born in Morocco of parents from the Brittany region of France and who started his culinary career in France.

Jaffres then responded in what he described as “bad English” that it was a “please being here in Leonardtown and a pleasurer working for you.”Jaffres and his wife Karleen were recognized by Franchot for “the café’s contribution to the revitalization of Leonardtown and its commitment to culinary excellence.”

After moving to America Chef Loic worked at a restaurant in Washington and then for the chef to the Clintons White House and later at Watergate, The couple opened Café des Artistes in 1999.

Leonardtown Mayor Dan Burris and Councilmen Hayden Hammett, Tom Combs and Jay Mattingly were on hand for the ceremony, along with Town Administrator Laschelle McKay, Commissioner President Jack Russell and Commissioner Todd Morgan, Register of Wills Lois Duke, and Delegate John Wood.

The comptroller, who enjoys giving out awards at his own expense, presented an award to Wood, who is retiring, earlier this year. Wood, in remarks at the ceremony, noted his friendship with Franchot when he was a delegate, in spite of their polar opposite political philosophies.

Just as legendary Comptroller Louis Goldstein did for so many years, Franchot now hands out symbolic tokens of appreciation. For this occasion he gave one to Wood’s wife Barbara.

After the brief ceremony many attending adjourned to sample the much-honored chef’s culinary creations.

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