Guest Blog: Philippe Orrico
I didn't choose to work in the kitchen. The kitchen chose me and each time I've tried to leave her, she's dragged me back.
I grew up on the French island of La Réunion just off the coast of South Africa. It is a beautiful Island, a mountain in the middle of the sea, with amazing fruits: lychee, longan, pineapple, watermelon – all full of sun, flavour and life.
La Réunion is a beautiful island, but small and boring for a boy of 20. So I decided to move and 'discover' the world. The easiest way for me to leave was to find a job in France. I started in Bordeaux with 300 euros in my pocket and a job in a brasserie. From Bordeaux, I moved to Nice, Burgundy, Paris, London and now Hong Kong. Mon dieu, I'm not sure I even knew where Hong Kong was 10 years ago. But that's life - exciting and full of surprises: seeing different countries, meeting different people, discovering new cultures and most importantly, discovering different ingredients, ways to eat, and ways to cook.
In case you haven't realised, I'm a chef. During my journey from Bordeaux to Hong Kong, I've worked with some very interesting chefs , including eight years with the inspiring Monsieur Pierre Gagnaire. I've seen things in kitchens that you wouldn't believe and I've met VVIP customers and heard some intimate stories.
Every day I wake up and think how lucky I am to be in Hong Kong as the executive chef of the stunning heritage hotel, Hullett House. And for a chef, Hong Kong is one of the most interesting place to be. Here, I can follow the seasons and source ingredients from Japan, Australia, France, Spain, Israel , Brazil, Italy : it really is unique. I don't know anywhere else that I can use the summer truffle from France and, at the same time the winter truffle from Australia! You have to try my roasted scallops, mâche salad with grilled almonds and sautéed squid with summer and winter truffle when it becomes available in July.
The season for the black truffle from France will finish soon. Which is sad. but the asparagus season starts soon, which is magnifique. We will speak about that later, as I will be blogging about food, what goes on in the kitchen and ingredients every two weeks on Asia Tatler Dining. For the moment my interest is on green sea urchins, a seasonal sea urchin from the salt marshes of Brittany available in February and March only. The taste of this sea urchin is ...
Oups ! It's noon, and the guests will arrive soon for lunch here at St.George. I have to check if everything is ok in the kitchen. See you in two weeks, à la prochaine.