1. You initially studied economics and finance before changing course and entering Le Cordon Bleu. What caused the change of heart? I was exposed to farming on an exchange program during my third year of university. One day, we were digging in the ground for strawberries. They were so fresh, so earthy — a flavor that I could never forget. This experience made me decide to become a chef.

2. How did your parents react to that decision? They were shocked. My dad told me many times that he wished I’d change careers because he knew how tough it was to be in the arts. But both my parents have always let me do what I want. When I first opened my shop in 2007, I was 24 years old, and my dad supported me most by letting me fail in the beginning — so that I could learn from my own mistakes — instead of jumping in to bail me out. I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now if I had been pampered. This is what I try to do with my chefs — support them from afar and let them work things out.

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