Inspired as he was by the cooking of his grandmother, it shouldn't be a surprise that French Chef Julien Royer, who was in India recently to unveil his magic, should be the co-owner in Singapore of a two-Michlen-star fine diner named after her.
"My grandmother Odette is one of the greatest influences in my life. Watching my grandmother cook, I realized the kind of joy and love you can demonstrate through food. The kind of emotions that can be passed through food was the impetus for me to start cooking.
"I wanted to tell stories through my food. People want comfort. Good food is always the best way to put a smile on your guest's face," Royner told IANS on the sidelines of the Masters of Marriott, a platform to exchange knowledge with a team of expert chefs, at which he served up a four-course repast.
Royner, 35, also took the opportunity to detail his journey down the years.
"My first venture into the kitchen was under the legendary Michel Bras in (French town) Laguiole who instilled in me a respect for the integrity and purity of each ingredient in every dish.
"I then moved to Durtol (also in France), where I worked for Chef Bernard Andrieux who helped reinforce my reverence. I then traveled to London, where I was sous chef to Antonin Bonnet at Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant, The Greenhouse," Royer explained.
Thereafter, he moved to Singapore in 2008 to take on the role of Chef de Cuisine at JAAN at Swissotel the Stamford, which received numerous accolades including 11th place on the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2015 guide and 74 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants 2015 long list.
"Then the opportunity to open Odette showed itself and the rest you can say is history," Royer said.
How would he describe his singature dishes?
"Rosemary smoked organic egg, heirloom beetroot variation and Kegani crab are some of my signature dishes. I featured these from the Odette menu at the dinner in Delhi," Royer said.
Elaborating on the Delhi event, Royer said: "What I truly loved about Masters of Marriott is that it celebrates the pursuit of consistent innovation and excellence as well as global talent. With over 5,000 chefs across 200+ restaurants in India, it provides an extended arm of exposure to renowned international chefs."
At the bottom line, Royer remains a purist.
"As the dishes we serve at Odette are very much anchored by produce and tradition, we are not very influenced by trends in general. Focus on quality and purity of ingredients remains the driving force for us. At Odette, we have always intentionally gone against the stereotype of fine dining as stiff and unwelcoming while presenting the very best of produce in its purest form," Royer explained.
(Vishnu Makhijani can be contacted at email@example.com)
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