Peo­ple and pro­duce are the chef’s great­est in­spi­ra­tions

T. Dining by Singapore Tatler - - Starter On The Pass -


“We have to go see them, try the prod­ucts and build re­la­tion­ships. I have vis­ited most of our farm­ers to see how they work. For ex­am­ple, on a re­cent trip, I met a butcher in my home­town who spe­cialises in an old breed of cat­tle that’s fed so that the meat can be dry-aged for a long time. They are 80 per cent grass-fed and, to­wards the end of their lives, they are fed corn. We are go­ing to work with him soon.”


“I’m al­ways in­spired by what in­gre­di­ents are in sea­son. In­spi­ra­tion can come from travel, from other peo­ple or from tech­niques that I’ve seen other chefs use. But the base for us is al­ways to choose the right in­gre­di­ent.”


“I have evolved as a chef and a man be­cause of the peo­ple around me. I make dishes that I like to eat, but I also need to give peo­ple what they like. When I taste some­thing, I do it with my clos­est team and we share our feed­back. We al­ways ad­just the flavours based on each other’s palates. Some­times, we each have an idea of what we want to make, but we ad­just that last touch of sea­son­ing or acid­ity as a team to make sure we please as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.”

Step by Step

Time and easy ac­cess to much of Asia’s bounty have pre­sented Royer with the op­por­tu­nity to un­der­stand the pref­er­ences of his din­ers. He has spent years tast­ing as much of the flavours of the re­gion as he can “to un­der­stand what de­li­cious­ness means to our guests”.

Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the idea of a dish like Viet­namese pho, for ex­am­ple, is a new dish of foie gras and Ja­panese abalone paired with smoked eel that’s torched ta­ble­side. It’s topped with nas­tur­tium, ki­nome leaves, tar­ragon, chervil, cilantro and spring onions, and fin­ished with a hot smoked-eel dashi con­sommé. “It has lay­ers of tex­tures; the flavours are both sub­tle and in­tense,” he ex­plains, adding that the hot broth re­leases de­li­cious, de­light­ful aro­mas from the herbs. “The dish evokes the idea of pho. But in tech­nique, in­gre­di­ents and flavour, it is Odette.”

It’s dishes such as this that of­fer clues as to where Royer’s culi­nary path is headed. And while it must seem tempt­ing for a chef who’s clearly at the top of his game to make plans for big­ger things, Royer says he’s per­fectly happy with what he has right now. “The fo­cus is to work on our base and evolve our food for our din­ers. To pur­vey this kind of din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence takes a lot of time and en­ergy, and I don’t want to burn the can­dle at both ends. So I take it step by step, stone by stone.”

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