When he first came to Singapore, Julien Royer worked at Jaan for four years before setting up his own modern French place—Odette.
Julien Royer, 35
In this series, we meet chefs under 35 whose restaurants were awarded stars in Singapore’s Top Restaurants 2017/2018.
Trained by respected French chefs like Michel Bras of Le Suquet in Laguiole, Julien Royer came to Singapore and helmed Jaan for four years from 2011. During that time, he brought it to 11th place in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List and 74th on the World’s 50 Best long list. He then left to open his own modern French restaurant Odette at the National Gallery of Singapore with the Lo & Behold Group in 2015. A year later, it earned two Michelin stars and retained that status this year. To top it off, Odette debuted this year at 9th place in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List, and 86th on the World’s 50 Best long list.
Tasting menus at the restaurant let him play with produce, showcasing their natural splendour, simply and elegantly. Illustrating this are his signature dishes Hokkaido uni; heirloom beetroot variation; and rosemary smoked organic egg.
The ultra-premium ingredients he uses come from boutique producers with whom he cultivates a working relationship—such as cheesemaker Bernard Antony in Vieux-Ferrette, Northeastern France and seafood producers from Hokkaido Japan. Despite his success, Royer remains grounded by the words that mentor Michel Bras shared with him many years ago: “You alone are nothing”. By this, he means that a chef is defined by the strength of the people that surrounds him. What more does he hope for? Royer muses, “To still be relevant. To still have the restaurant not only full, but with lots of returning customers, and to still have a team that’s strong, like family.”
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s September 2017 issue – Singapore’s Top Restaurants, ‘Early Risers’