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I did my apprenticeship at Relais & Châteaux l’Hostellerie Saint Roch in the Ardennes, before I toured round the classic restaurants in Belgium. I took up my first post as chef at the age of 23. That was the beginning of a whole new life, lots of travelling and, in a sense, a round-the-world trip. I threw myself into the job 100%, telling myself that, when you’re a chef, your apprenticeship is a never-ending journey: it lasts your whole life long.My career really took off in Asia, when I set up in Kuala Lumpur and won the prize for the best ex-patriate chef in Malaysia in 1999. After that, I was able to move to Singapore where I met my wife and all my dreams came true. And, as the Americans say: “the rest is history”.When I joined Relais & Châteaux it gave me the opportunity to discover that I was not alone, that I was now part of a glorious big family.My cuisine combines French techniques with Japanese produce.
Singapore is known for its banks, not for its farms! Very few vegetables are grown here because there is so little land available. But thanks to our “central” location, we can import produce from Japan, Australia, etc. Nonetheless, I’m working with a few local producers to try to grow our own herbs and certain vegetables… on the roof of our restaurant!
I very much like momotaro tomatoes (momo means “peach”) and nasu, which are small eggplants with no bitter flavor at all. Last season we offered a dish called the “botanical garden,” made with bamboo shoots, lotus root, sweet potato, burdock root, shishito peppers, kabocha squash, momotaro tomatoes, banana blossoms and beans with honey. A real treat for vegetarians like myself…