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At the first anniversary of Le39V Hong Kong, we chat with the chef and find out what he feels about his accomplishments thus far.
When I was younger, I went regularly to the restaurant Le Bistrot 121 in Paris. It was my first experience dining in a starred restaurant and I was fascinated by the sense of detail, the choice of products and the quality of the dishes. I was very impressed by the whole team who was always attentive and worked very hard to give you an extraordinary experience.
I was not in Paris when I heard the news. It was indeed a very great surprise and a very emotional moment for me. I remember I had tears in my eyes when I heard the news. It was the recognition of the team’s work and a huge encouragement to all of us who had strived to make a high-quality cuisine. I have to honour my team because I couldn’t have obtained the star without them. They work very hard and they put their trust in me. I think I need to give them the star because it is they who made my Michelin dreams come true.
I had a celebration with my family and then, of course, I celebrated again with my teammates with lots of champagne, which is the tradition in France. Some of the customers and suppliers joined the celebration too because they loved my cuisine and had been very supportive.
How has the MICHELIN Guide impacted your career?
It makes me want to be a better and stronger person. I think it is very hard to achieve a star and to maintain the star is even harder. I take it as a daily challenge and a goal to always give the best I can to the customers. It is not easy to stay on top; you need to evolve and I remind myself about this every day.
I think it is important to have the mindset that you are cooking not for yourself, but for others. They must know that, when their work conveys truth and sincerity, the guests will receive the message in their dishes. They also need to enjoy cooking because it is a job that brings happiness and joy to people. It is a responsibility to take care of the guests but in return you will gain a great sense of achievement. For me, my joy comes from seeing my teams both in Paris and Hong Kong moving towards the same direction and nothing makes me happier when I see them use their heart to prepare dishes and pay attention to details when serving the guests.