Long-term visitors to the island will remember the renowed owner of Le Santal restaurant, Jean Dupont. Sadly, he passed away in March 31st of 2005 leaving St Martin an epicurian legacy which continues to please palates from across the globe.
Coming from French and Vietnamese origins, Jean had a colorful background in France starring with a career as a fashion model before entering the hospitality industry and owning two nightclubs in Paris and St Tropez. A self-taught chef who professed to owing many of his culinary talents to the tutelage of a close Vietnamese friend who was a chef, Jean went on to great success in St Martin with two restaurants.
Jean was one of the early flag bearers of the island’s culinary circuit arriving in St Martin in 1972, for a vacation… like all of us! Upon stumbling upon the building and location which is now the famed Le Santal – favored by movie stars and high-profile personalities from around the world – he instantly fell in love with the view across the bay and decided this was the spot to begin what was to span decades dedicated to fine dining.
Fondly remembered as a big connoisseur of fine Bordeaux, Jean’s enormous, outspoken character was, along with his fine cuisine, one of the island’s oldest and most loved dining establishments.
In 1987, the “baby” of Le Santal was born and many will miss the fond aromas, which emanated from the “Jean Dupont Restaurant” in Marigot’s Marina Royale. Today, Jean’s legacy of over 30 years in St Martin lives on through his charming wife Nada and their five children who together, continue to provide visitors and locals alike with the same delicious dishes and high standards set by Jean. His spirit lives on through his family and Le Santal’s unique fusion of French and Asian cuisine, masterminded and perfected over years of dedication to his passion for fine cuisine.
Let us raise our glass of Bordeaux to an immutable master of the culinary arts.
To Jean Dupont

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