With 25 Michelin stars, Joël Robuchon is the most decorated chef in the world. The celebrated chef has two restaurants under his name in Singapore, Joël Robuchon Restaurant and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, both located at Resorts World Sentosa.
Joël Robuchon was in Singapore for a week from 13 April, 2014. His last visit was in September 2013 when he was here for the nine-day food fest RWS Food Affair.
On 15 April, the day of his first cooking demonstration in Singapore, “An Evening with Joël Robuchon”, we had the chance to get up close with the decorated chef.
Here are some of the highlights from the chat:
Q: How has everything been for Joël Robuchon Restaurant and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Singapore?
Robuchon: We’re happy that the number of new and returning customers to Joël Robuchon Restaurant has increased.
Normally, it’s the L’Atelier that is more frequented because it’s not as expensive. But we’re happy that Joël Robuchon Restauran is doing better and we have a lot of returning customers who appreciate our cuisine.
Of course, progression is important and we need to achieve better to see more customers.
Q: Do you think that Joël Robuchon Restaurant and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Singapore deserve Michelin stars?
(Laughs) It’s not up to me to decide if they deserve Michelin stars. But if I were from Michelin, I would give all my restaurants three stars.
Q: Singapore is the first city where you have opened a Joël Robuchon Restaurant. Do you have plans to open more restaurants in Southeast Asia?
We plan to open a restaurant in Bangkok in September. We also have plans to open one in Mumbai and maybe even China but these aren’t exactly in Southeast Asia.
Q: Why Bangkok?
I have worked in Bangkok for some time, the first was 15 years ago at a Normandy restaurant at the Oriental Hotel.
I enjoyed the quality of the produce in Bangkok and the spices there are a very good inspiration for my cuisine.
I also had the chance of finding good partners there.
Q: With so many Joël Robuchon Restaurants in the world, do you find it difficult to come up with inspiration for new cuisine?
Finding inspiration for new dishes is not really a problem. A bigger difficulty is finding the right team to manage the restaurants.
It takes a long time to build up a team. And you need a good team to be competitive in the industry.
I’m lucky to have collaborators in the restaurant who have worked with me for a long time. They are very skilful.
Having many restaurants in different parts of the world also brings out the competition between the different Joël Robuchon restaurants. The Joël Robuchon in Tokyo, Macau and Taiwan compete with each other to be better.