Charm of Crêpe with Chef Guillaume Galliot
Here comes February – the month of Chinese New Year. We gather to share love, happiness and reunion with our beloved family. While in France, there is a similar festival to spend time with relatives – smiles and laughter fill the air of the house with La Chandeleur! This time, we invited Chef Guillaume Galliot at Caprice, one of the top restaurants with three Michelin stars in Hong Kong, to share his childhood memories in France for the celebration of La Chandeleur.
Chef Galliot found his passion for cooking and wanderlust during his childhood in the Loire Valley and has gone on to work in such esteemed kitchens as Jardin des Sens after culinary school. Though his expertise lies in classical French technique, he constantly experiments with the myriad flavours that he discovers around the world.
During his career journey, Chef Galliot received the opportunity to create a unique culinary experience around the world. With his appointment to Caprice, he joined one of the most talented teams in one of the most breathtaking restaurants in Asia – allured by the challenges and dynamics in Hong Kong.
This year, Caprice won again the recognition of three Michelin stars. Chef Galliot revealed the secret behind the success of Caprice, “We do not compromise on the quality of food, as well as making a creative progress on each dish with its standard.”
FrenchGuide: How did you arrive in Asia? What are your favorite things about this bustling city, Hong Kong?
Chef Guillaume GALLIOT: I arrived in Singapore in 2004 and I visited Hong Kong in 2005. When I first met the city, I wanted to work here because of the business environment. Challenges are one of my favorite things in Hong Kong, so as the easiness in reaching different ingredients for my cuisine and the quality of life.
Caprice with its three Michelin stars for this year again. Congratulations for being one of the best in Hong Kong and part of this very few Michelin 3-star Chefs’ club, any pressure with this beautiful award? How does it feel? Is it an exciting challenge?
Being one of the three-starred Michelin restaurants means we could not compromise on the quality of food and service. Some may stick to the norm of doing the same dish, but our job at Caprice is to create new recipes and keep the standard, so I would say it is a quite exciting challenge to sustain being creative while aiming at the very best in term of quality in food and service.
Since we know more about how you arrived in Hong Kong and at Caprice, we would love to hear about this joyful and family-friends celebration which is La Chandeleur.
What’s La Chandeleur for you? How did you celebrate with your family in France?
For me, La Chandeleur is about sharing, celebration and gourmandise (love of food). This festival was extremely important for me when I was a kid, because my grandmother valued a lot on this day. We started to eat crêpes from 12noon to 5pm. After the cleaning, my family started to cook the dinner and we ate at 8pm till mid night. Actually, we gathered every Sunday night to have crêpes together, so every week is La Chandeleur for me – it is a family tradition!
Have you ever tried the crêpe tradition (Pièce d’or – the tradition is about flipping the crêpe in one hand while the other hand is holding a Louis d’or, an old French coin)?
Yes! As our family is big, 7 kids on my father’s side and 19 grandchildren in total, we need to queue up to flip the crêpe and hold the coin in hand at the same time. If we failed to do so, we need to queue again unless we succeeded. Sometimes, the dogs would eat the fallen crêpes on the floor!
Which is your favourite? Crêpes (sweet crêpes) or Galettes (savoury crêpes)?
I prefer galettes, because you can eat many for dinner, but not the sweet one. I love galettes complètes with mushroom and eggs. You can taste the richness of the yolk’s egg, that’s delicious! For sweet ones, bananas & Nutella combo is always my favourite.
If you have to create crêpes with Hong Kong flavour to serve at Caprice, what would it be?
There are 2 ideas in my mind. The first one would be crêpes with Char Siu (barbecued pork), because I love its richness to build up the tastiness of the crêpes. Another thought would be e with the Beijing duck, its original and smooth sauce inside the crêpe will give a sweet yet savoury taste, plus the duck‘s skin will add a crispy texture. Dated back to Jardin des Sens, one of the ancient restaurants I worked at with three Michelin stars, I also created a fusion dish of Beijing duck and foie gras.
Could you recommend us one sweet and one savoury signature dish to try at Caprice?
For sweet dish, Banana Chocolate Mille-Feuille is always on my menu because it is part of my creation at Jardin des Sens and it’s following me since then. For the savoury dish, I recommend you try the various appetizers that you could find in our house. For main dish, you should miss the Crab Laksa, Land and Sea Tartare and many more surprises in our five-course menu.
Supported by the team at the Four Seasons Hotel, we could see how Chef Galliot shines with his creative cuisine and his passion in food. In this family-oriented festival, let’s enjoy the holiday like the French do!