Guillaume Galliot: Food Pursuit
Guillaume Galliot, Chef de Cuisine at two Michelin star Caprice at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, finds inspiration in everything he eat and the connection between flavors that he found.
Born in Chambray-Les-Tours in the Loire Valley in central France, Guillaume said he found his passion, and wanderlust, quite young.
“I was 11 or 12 when I knew I wanted to be a chef,” he said. Tween Guillaume was so determined to cook that he told his mother to stop buying him lunch.
“Once a week, we would go out buy produce and I would cook my lunch myself every day.”
When he was 15, he took up vocational training at a little restaurant in his hometown to see whether it was something he really wanted to do.
Sure enough, a year later Guillaume decided to enroll at a culinary school for two years and worked in many restaurants, both small and starred, where he learned to cook from scratch.
After earning his apprenticeship diploma, Guillaume went to work under the chefs and twin brothers Jacques and Laurent Pourcel at the three-Michelin-star Jardin des Sens. There Guillaume expanded on his culinary school training, sharpening skills while growing sensitive to the lighter touch of Mediterranean cuisine.
During his time at Jardin des Sens, he worked for a while in pastry, an experience he said left him with an appreciation of the precision of the art, and a deeper understanding of how dessert can be unified with a full dégustation menu.
After stints consulting in New York and Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean, an urge to see the world pulled Guillaume east until he landed in Singapore, becoming, at the age of 23, the youngest sous chef in the history of the iconic Raffles Hotel.
A chance to keep exploring the tastes and techniques of Chinese cuisine took him to the Raffles Hotel Beijing–a fortuitous posting as it allowed him to be part of the 2008 Olympic festivities.
In 2010, Guillaume received the opportunity to bring his unique culinary vision to life. At The Tasting Room by Galliot in the City of Dreams, Macau, he drew on his personal culinary journey to craft a contemporary French fine-dining experience. In the first year, the restaurant was recognized with one star by Michelin, an accolade he maintained for four consecutive years until achieving the coveted two-Michelin-star rating in 2016 and 2017.
At The Tasting Room, Guillaume received further accolades including Hong Kong & Macau Tatler Best Restaurants Guide 2013-2017: Top Ten Restaurants; Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 and the South China Morning Post’s Top 100 Tables 2013 to 2017. Earlier this year, he was appointed as chef de cuisine at Caprice.
Traveling, Guillaume said, plays an important role in his culinary pursuit. “Travel is where most new ideas come about–everything from the food culture of these different countries, the people, art, history and culture.
“Travel doesn’t change the palette, but it makes the palette get more modern and refined through discovery of more spices, herbs and different products,” Guillaume said.
One of the fruits of his exploration is a variation on the Malay dish laksa. The dish is a crab laksa with confit egg, leeks, coriander, hazelnut and sudachi lime. He created it with his sous chef after they ate the Southeast Asian dish for lunch and decided to play around with the idea. Guillaume describes it as a French laksa with no noodles.
While he believes that his roots, French food, is about straightforward flavors; Guillaume still believes that classical food is paramount.
“The simplest things are the most difficult to make. The basics, therefore, are very important,” Guillaume said with a smile.
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Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
8 Finance Street, Central Hong Kong
T: +852 3196 8888
Photos by: Four Season Hotel Hong Kong