“When you find the right balance on the plate, and when you have nothing else to say, that is perfection,” explained two-star Michelin Chef Guillaume Galliot of Caprice, housed in the Four Seasons Hong Kong. In a brief interview, we discussed his approach to food, lifelong learning, inspiration and more.
Born in the Loire Valley in France, Chef Guillaume Galliot has travelled the world perfecting his skills for gourmet gastronomy. Beginning under the tutelage of twin brothers Jacques and Laurent Pourcel in the three Michelin-starred Jardin des Sens, Galliot undertook roles in New York, Saint Barthelemy, Singapore and Beijing. He became the youngest sous chef ever, at only 23 years old, in the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore. In Macau, he brought truly modern French dining to life at the Tasting Room, achieving a Michelin star within the first year of opening. He maintained the one star rating for four years before gaining two Michelin stars for the restaurant in 2016 and 2017. Chef Guillaume Galliot now heads the team at the two Michelin-starred Caprice, a renowned restaurant of the Four Seasons Hong Kong. He joined the restaurant in April 2017, bringing his vision of globally influenced French cuisine to one of the most-sought after venues in Asia.
At what point in your culinary career did you realize that you truly excelled as a chef?
I have only been in the business since I was 21 years old, so I still have time to discover and get better. As a chef, it's all about tasting, discovering, and having an open mind. I guess it's like wine. I will get better with age as long as there is passion in the mind.
How would you describe your philosophy or approach to food?
Classic technique with some modern approaches. Also, the products I can get from all over the world are unlimited. There are so many things that I discover on each of my travels that give me a lot of inspiration.
Where else do you draw your inspiration from to constantly create?
I get inspiration from discussions with my sous chef or even during a meal with a chef friend. Going to the market with my family in France is also a big source of inspiration.
Walk me through the process of when you have a new idea or an inspiration for a new menu item. How do you go about taking that idea from your mind to the plate?
I usually try to first think about the base of the product: where it comes from, if there is a story behind it. Is it vegetable or protein. Spices too, all have to make sense. Like the Pigeon Cocoa that we are doing now. What is the base of the cocoa? The cocoa bean. So then I was sure for me that the association works. That's why the pigeon ends up being cooked in the Cocoa pod.
As a two-star Michelin chef, what strategies do you employ to maintain such a high bar of consistency, excellence and precision?
It's an every day work. Build the right team like in soccer. Put the right player at the right place and every day we have a match to play. And of course, we all want to win the match by serving all the right ingredients by making them shine. We put our service and passion into all products to make sure the guest can feel it and taste it.
Is there such a thing as the perfect dish?
There is. That's why people reach three Michelin stars. When you find the right balance on the plate, and when you have nothing else to say, that is perfection.