In 1997 he joined Joël Robuchon as chef de partie before rising to sous chef de cuisine and chef de cuisine at the Societe de Gestion Culinaire Joël Robuchon, where he was involved in gastronomic research and development, as well as numerous TV cooking shows and international promotions.
After four years as chef de cuisine at Le Grand Cafe in Ukraine, Lepinoy returned to Hong Kong to join Robuchon for the opening of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. The restaurant quickly established itself among the world’s top 100 restaurants, earning two stars in the Michelin Guide Hong Kong-Macau and voted ‘Best Restaurant in Asia’.
Sebastien Lepinoy recently provided a recipe for Asia Eater for crispy langustine and we decided to take the opportunity to ask the chef a few questions:
What initially took you to Asia?
I stumbled upon Asia by chance. I was initially supposed to stay in Monaco. However, due to some changes on the Hong Kong side, Mr. Robuchon assigned me to L’atelier as the executive chef de cuisine.
Describe your relationship with Joël Robuchon and what it has meant for your career.
I worked as an executive chef in 2 stars Michelin restaurant in Monaco and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Hong Kong. It was a really good experience to be part of it, and all the 3 different restaurants presented different learning opportunities for me and I am grateful for that.
How would you describe your food?
My style uses French technique with Asian aesthetics. I always use classical French techniques when I cook, and incorporate elements of what I have seen and tasted during my stay in Asia which I feel will complement the local climate and palates.
You recently contributed to Asia Eater with a recipe for crispy langoustine. Please tell us how you came up with the recipe.
The Langoustine Papillote is an old French recipe, created in the restaurant, Laurent in Paris in the 80s, originally for the Arabic customers. They use a basil leaf to wrap the langoustine before wrapping it with the feuille de brick. To bring a twist in the dish as well as an Asian touch, I use a Bleu nori to wrap my langoustine instead, before wrapping it with the feuille de brick.
You recently started as executive chef at Les Amis in Singapore. What is your initial impression of the Singapore fine dining scene?
I first visited Singapore in 1997. I worked for 1 week at Raffles Hotel together with Joël Robuchon and it was a wonderful experience; the environment and customers in Asia are great! I feel that Asian cities, namely Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, have a vast potential for growth in the F&B arena, and I want to be part of that growth. Hence, when I was given the opportunity to work in Singapore to helm the kitchen of the award-wining Les Amis restaurant, I jumped at the opportunity.
Tell us about the new menu you’ve made for Les Amis and any highlights in it.
In Singapore, Japanese cuisine is well received. This is one reason why I decided to use familiar Japanese ingredients, which are well-liked by the locals, in my dishes.
Thus, a lot of my dishes for Les Amis are Japanese-inspired, for example the angel hair pasta with lobster, crispy Sakura ebi and a touch of parmesan; pan seared Hokkaido scallops with teriyaki sauce, pan seared foie gras and French River eel accompanied by citrus fruits and dashi broth; and Daikon veloute with black truffle.
I also believe in changing the menu frequently so that our guests can enjoy a refreshing experience each time they dine with us, and look forward to coming back for more good food.