Growing up in Paris, Vianney Massot harboured dreams of becoming a professional tennis player until he entered hotel school at 16 and got his start apprenticing in the kitchens of three-starred restaurant Epicure in Le Bristol in Paris. He then joined the Joël Robuchon group on his 18th birthday and became one of the late legendary French chef’s youngest and last proteges.
He worked with Robuchon for nine years and rose through the ranks in Paris before following his mentor on his travels, which led to a two-year stint at the Grand Lisboa hotel in Macau at three Michelin-starred Robuchon au Dôme as sous-chef.
Massot arrived in Singapore in 2017 to head the now-defunct L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at Resorts World Sentosa, where he helped maintain the restaurant’s MICHELIN star till the restaurant shuttered in mid-2018. It was then that he received the opportunity to helm what was then one-MICHELIN-starred Bacchanalia, a task he took on with pride.
Massot put his definitive stamp on the restaurant and steered the restaurant down a more classic French route. He revamped the kitchen to an open concept one to showcase its classic black and white tiles, while bringing elegant precision to dishes such as the Foie Gras Symphony, which is plated with a hypnotising geometric dots of corn puree and parsley drops.
In April 2019, 27-year-old Massot became one of the youngest chefs in Singapore to helm an eponymous restaurant when Bacchanalia was rebranded as Vianney Massot Restaurant. It was a move that paid off when six months later, the restaurant was recognised with a MICHELIN star in the MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2019.
Massot shares more about the emotions and thoughts he experienced when his eponymous restaurant received its MICHELIN star for the very first time.
What and when was your first encounter with the MICHELIN Guide?
My first encounter with the MICHELIN Guide was when I was working as an apprentice cook in Le Bristol Paris. The restaurant I was with, Epicure, was promoted from two to three stars and it was a great milestone. Everyone on the team was so excited and I remember thinking to myself that one of my goals is to achieve Michelin stars with my own restaurant. This was in 2007. Twelve years later, I suppose you can say my wish came true.
What was it like when your restaurant received a MICHELIN star for the first time this year?
It meant a lot to us. It is great recognition from a reputable authority of all the hard work my team and I have put into the restaurant and the food. It meant even more because our restaurant has only been open for 6 months. We are beyond ecstatic to start our story with such a recognition from the world-renowned guide.
How did you celebrate?
Right after the award ceremony, I came back to the restaurant because this is where it all started and this is where I wanted to soak in the best of the experience. My sous chef Lewis and I came back to the restaurant and we had champagne with the whole team. We wanted to celebrate with the people who made it all possible. The next day, operations continued as usual; we insisted on continuing service because we wanted to celebrate with our customers.
As a chef, what does having a MICHELIN star mean to you?
The star is not just for me, but the entire team of Vianney Massot Restaurant. It is recognition for the hard work we put in every day. If we are able to get 1 star after only being open for 6 months, it means we’re on the right path and moving forward. We will continue working on that same path but with more attention to detail so as to evolve and improve constantly.
Do you have any advice for young chefs aiming for MICHELIN stars?
The most important thing is to continue doing what you love with passion and patience. It is also important to enjoy being together with the people you work with and the diners who come in to the restaurant.
As a chef, you have to take a lot of pleasure in the kitchen since you will be spending most of your time there. Find your place within the kitchen, then only will you be motivated to find the best way to work with your ingredients, come up with the best recipes and create the best identity for your restaurant.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You need to understand that every day and every service is a blank slate to do great things. Remember to cook with passion and love every day - for the food, for your ingredients and for the people who cross your path. The most important thing you need to cook well, is a love for people.