Joël Robuchon introduces the two new head chefs for L’Atelier Joël Robuchon and Joël Robuchon Restaurant, Singapore
With the most Michelin stars in the world - 31 to be exact - the maestro of French gastronomy Joël Robuchon was recently in Singapore to announce the two young chefs, Vianney Massot and Kim Joinié-Maurin who will be taking over the top positions of Chef de Cuisine in L’Atelier Joël Robuchon (two Michelin stars) and Joël Robuchon Restaurant (three Michelin stars) respectively. During the intimate lunch session, Robuchon shared his thoughts on the new appointments, upcoming restaurant openings and his passion project.
At 26, chef Vianney Massot can be considered a prodigy of sorts, having risen through the ranks in Paris before following Robuchon on his travels, and then a two-year stint at the Grand Lisboa hotel in Macau at three Michelin-starred Robuchon au Dôme as sous-chef. He replaces Lorenz Hoja.
“Vianney is young, passionate, ambitious and hardworking with a highly impressive culinary background. He first joined us in 2009 at La Table de Joël Robuchon in Paris, before spending a year at L’Atelier there,” said Robuchon through his translator for the event, chef Philippe Braun.
“I remember he used to come in at 6AM and he worked so hard - he even cried once because he was unable to do what he wanted to do - cook. Now he has a fabulous and well-trained team to lead here.”
After honing his skills at the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts in Paris, chef Kim Joinié-Maurin, 35, joined the team in Las Vegas in 2006, and in the same year the Joël Robuchon Restaurant there received three Michelin stars. After a five-year tenure, Kim arrived in Singapore for the opening of the restaurant in Resorts World Singapore and has seen it achieve three Michelin Stars.
“I thought it was time for him to take over,” said Robuchon with a laugh. “I encourage all my chefs to travel and have the opportunity to change countries and learn about that country’s culture, as well as the culinary culture there in order to develop their skills.”
In good humour, Robuchon remarked that while chef Kim looks Asian, he is French.
“He was born Korean but we’re not sure if it’s North or South. We believe it’s South,” said Mr. Robuchon with a wry smile.
Following his belief that all chefs should travel and work in different countries, former executive chef for Joël Robuchon Restaurant Singapore, Michael Michaelidis, will now be taking over the same position for the restaurant in Tokyo from Alain Verzeroli. Chef Alain will be heading the upcoming Joël Robuchon restaurant in New York (slated to open mid-2018). A L’Atelier is currently in the works in Miami and he plans to open another in Geneva, both sometime in 2018.
Looking forward to the future, Robuchon’s eyes lit up as he talked about what could be his most personal project - the Insitut International Joël Robuchon (slated to open in 2019). With a great desire to share his incomparable knowledge to future generations, the Institut will comprise of a school, hotel and restaurants that aim to provide real-life, hands on experience for 1400 students.
Built in his beloved Montmorillon where he spent most of his childhood, the school lies on the ground of a former monastery hospital and will be in partnership with the famous Swiss hospitality management school Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL).
“The main purpose of the school is to transmit my DNA - my spirit. I didn’t want a traditional school with traditional classrooms and no real world practice. I wish to recreate all the situations and places you would encounter in real life and as such, there will be a fully functioning hotel, restaurants, bakery, pastry shop, tea salon, bar and more,” said Robuchon.
“I want them to train in the premises exactly the same as they would in real life, for the simple reason that I see so many young students coming out of school who are unprepared to face reality.”
“There is a sentence I like in Arabic that says ‘When a grandfather dies, a library is burning.’ It's something I really have in my heart - to leave all the knowledge I've been taught and all I've seen to everyone - that's what spurred me on to create this school,” said Robuchon.