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Joel Robuchon to grow his business in Asia

To the delight of food lovers at Tuesday night’s full house dinner with Joel Robuchon, the world’s most decorated Michelin-star chef (25 stars) conducted a short cooking demonstration where he proved just how uncomplicated some of the most lauded meals could be.

Chef Robuchon’s Le Saumon — salmon tartare flavoured with shiso.

Chef Robuchon’s Le Saumon — salmon tartare flavoured with shiso.

To the delight of food lovers at Tuesday night’s full house dinner with Joel Robuchon, the world’s most decorated Michelin-star chef (25 stars) conducted a short cooking demonstration where he proved just how uncomplicated some of the most lauded meals could be.

For instance, he began with a starter of salmon tartare that was piqued with a little flying fish roe (tobiko) and a dash of Tabasco, “because I know Asians like it spicy”, he quipped. The result was nothing short of delicious.

Robuchon, who arrived on Sunday night, is in town for a week of research and development with his Singapore team. And his love for quality is just one of the reasons his Singapore outposts at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) — the stylishly informal L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Joel Robuchon, his eponymous “gastronomic” restaurant serving the chef’s award-winning interpretation of French haute cuisine — are doing well. The restaurants are also his first two in South-east Asia, bringing his total number of restaurants to 12 across the globe.

That said, not everything has always gone swimmingly. “You always have to (strive) to achieve (something) better all the time,” the famously over-achieving Frenchman explained, adding that increasing the number of customers (including repeat customers) is equally important.

But satisfied diners at his establishments are something that Robuchon can be happy about, as numbers have been on the rise since his last visit in September last year for the inaugural RWS Food Affair.

“Normally, it is the more casual and less expensive (restaurant) that is most frequented,” he said. “So I’m very happy that the gastronomic restaurant is doing better.”

This, he explained, has always been a worry of his, particularly because of the restaurant’s location “far away from the centre of Singapore”, coupled with the fact that most visitors to Sentosa come for attractions like Universal Studios and are not often focused on this level of dining.

“For us, it is a little bit of a disadvantage,” he added.

But he doesn’t have any complaints so far. The success of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Joel Robuchon has always paved the way for expansion. Work on a L’Atelier in Bangkok, slated to open end-September, is underway, as is work for a restaurant in Mumbai. Robuchon said he is considering opening one in China, too.

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