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Christ Our King
Diocese of Charleston

Christ Our King: Andre Guillet, Permanent Deacon

I was born on January 2, 1943 in Talence, France, which is on the outskirts of Bordeaux. My young mother worked very hard as a server in a restaurant in Bordeaux while, I was raised in Gujan- Mestras (near Arcachon), by my aunt Margot and my uncle Andre. I lived there until I was 5 with them and my three cousins.I then moved in with mother when she opened Le Grand Caf in Lormont, 7 kilometers from Bordeaux. Our life was always busy and connected to the restaurant business from then. At the age of 10 I was already tending bar, serving glasses of wine, espresso, and rum. The restaurant was a local gathering place for the Lormont Soccer team. The players loved to play Belote, a French card game. Even at an early age I would fill in when they needed an extra hand. My mom operated this restaurant for 11 years. By then I was working on my aprentiship as a restaurateur.

In March 1961 I went into the French army for two years. The first year was spent in Montbelliard, near Dijon. I did 4 months boot camp and then became in charge of the bar that was for the officers. The following year was spent in Trier, Germany, where I was assigned to the foyer, a hang out for the soldiers. During that time General De Gaule visited Germany and I was fortunate to be at his service. He was a real gentleman and had always a kind word. I made very good friends during those two years. On February 16, 1963, I finally got La quille (a special word for expressing freedom) from the army. At that time I went back to work in the restaurant industry, spending the winter in Paris and summer in Arcachon. In Arcachon I worked at Le Victoria, a Brasserie, where I met many of the 60 American French teachers that were perfecting their French.

Marie Miranda and Norman Rifkin were part of this group. Norman was my American sponsor. When I arrived to America on November 14, 1964, I lived in Patchogue, NY with his family. Marie became my wife. We were married and had four wonderful sons. The two of us worked very hard trying to be the best parents we could be.

Michel Andre was born on November 28th, 1965 Marc Andre was born on April 10th, 1967 Matthew Andre was born on February 28th, 1969 Martin Andre was born on August 30th, 1971

I worked in a few restaurants in New York City including Le Manoir, and The Rainbow Room. I then worked on Long Island for Carl Hoppls at Westbury Manor, and Le Norwich in Huntington.As typical Frenchmen, with certain arrogance, my partner and I were looking for a restaurant venture. Thanks to Arthur Giorgini our Lawyer who find the perfect spot. John and Nick Racanelli became our entrusted builders and on June 4th, 1975 Jean Claude Denner, a Chef who had worked with me at Le Manoir in New York City, and I opened La Mascotte, a 50 seat restaurant in Commack, NY, in a leased building. The restaurant became successful after a few years. We then had an opportunity to buy a piece of land a few hundred feet from our building, so we decided to sell our lease and build a new, bigger La Mascotte. We copied a Maison Landaise blue print (a typical home from the south of France), and built a 90 seat bar-restaurant. We received many acclamations, 3 stars from the New York Times, 4 Chef Hats from Newsday etc During that time Jean Claude and I were named Restaurateurs of the year from the Long Island Restaurants and Caterers. I was also named a Paul Harris member by the Rotary International for my contributions to the community.

After 4 years of study I was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church on May 4th, 1985. This allows me to preach and assist at liturgies, baptize children, witness wedding, lead wake service. After 23 years Marie and I saw life differently and went our separate ways.Marie and I remain friends as we enjoy our grandchildren.In 1993 I chose to sell my share of La Mascotte. I took a position as Director of Religious Education at saint Pius X in Plainview. During that time I got my Bachelor degree in French and Religious Studies and later on my Masters in Theology.In 1993 I accepted a position at the Julian restaurant in Boston. The restaurant was located in Le Meridien Hotel. The restaurant flourished and got amazing results.