Julien Royer and his Infinite Love Affair with Food

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Pick up any gourmet magazine and you will be hard-pressed to find an issue that does not feature either Julien Royer or Odette. In fact, reservations must be made at least a month in advance now if you are to have any hope of cinching a meal at this highly sought after Modern French restaurant in town. Barely six months old, Odette is located at the National Gallery, and offers a series of set menu options, including an ‘8 Act’ menu for both lunch and dinner. And there is no wrong option – you will be blown away by whatever you choose, that much is guaranteed.

Trained by some of the finest Chefs in France and around the world, including Michel Bras, Bernard Andrieux, Antonin Bonnet and Jean Georges Vongerichten, Chef Julien arrived in Singapore in 2011 and helmed the kitchen at Brasserie Les Saveurs (The St. Regis Singapore) and then more recently at Jaan (Swissotel the Stamford). His four-year tenure at Jaan was a defining and busy period, not only in the kitchen, but also on the accolade front, where he bagged several awards to seal his reputation in the culinary world, winning over diners and critics globally.

He was named Rising Chef Of The Year at the World Gourmet Summit’s Awards of Excellence in both 2012 and 2014; Jaan was also named Restaurant Of The Year in 2014; and was ranked 11th on the 2015 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. But this humble Chef did not always think that he would grow up to be the culinary giant that he is today. “I started out wanting to be a baker. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother Odette and some of my greatest childhood memories are tied to the tarts that she would make. From prune tarts and blueberry tarts to cheese tarts, there was always a tart for every season”.

With a deep respect for the integrity of each ingredient and a commitment to showcasing its brilliant flavours in every dish he creates, Chef Julien works with some of the world’s finest boutique producers, taking pride in offering his guests a unique opportunity to taste exceptional ingredients at their peak at Odette. To him, food is life. Simply. In fact, what makes him passionate about cooking is just that, “meeting and working with like-minded farmers and artisans who produce quality products and ingredients. We would be nothing without them. Beyond creating signature dishes, it is our passion to source for the very best produce to underscore our cuisine”.

Using the world as their backyard, Chef Julien and his team work with his panel of boutique producers to bring diners Modern French cuisine that is guided by his lifelong respect for seasonality, terroir and artisanal produce. “Our dishes combine only the best produce with Chef Julien’s signature delicate and restrained touch to create flavours that tantalize with every taste, texture and touch”.

Named in tribute to his grandmother, Odette is where every ingredient has its place and purpose, and is treated with the utmost care to highlight its purest flavours. Through her, Chef Julien highlights her belief that the most remarkable dishes can come from the purest ingredients, adding that little something to create dishes that excite the palate and fill the heart. Her devotion to people and ability to demonstrate love through food continue to inspire the Odette experience. Apart from the unparalleled food and the magic that the highly talented 33 year old French Chef brings to every plate, another key feature of the restaurant is the glass-enclosed kitchen, where diners can see chefs at work, reflecting the openness and honesty of Odette that is central to the entire dining experience.

What would this culinary maestro rate as his most memorable creation? “It would have to be the mushroom tea with toasted buckwheat amuse bouche that was created it in 2010. It is simple, earthy and comforting. Currently at Odette, we serve it with a porcini brioche”. And a man of perhaps simple tastes, Chef Julien looks to the quintessential French comforts of bread and cheese when it comes to his own choice of comfort foods. Simplicity at its best. Add citrus fruits to that combination, and you have the top three ingredients that Chef Julien cannot live without!

One tiny fact you didn’t know about him? “I am afraid of flying!  Take-offs and landings are particularly tough”.

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Odette's takeaway gift for guests: homemade jam using Chef Julien's grandmother's recipe.

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