From an early age, he visited museums like the famous La Prada in Madrid, the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan of Art in New York, and the British Museum in London for inspiration and education. And he loved nothing more than spending time in the kitchen watching his grandmother and mother cooking. The kitchen was old fashioned; no gas or electricity ovens, only an AGA, he remembers.
He watched carefully his grandmother when she prepared long cooking dishes and French specialties. Today he still recalls the smell of the different dishes she prepared. “It’s kind of ‘Madeleine de Proust,’” he explains. “The aromas take you back to your childhood again.”
He frequently accompanied his grandma to the local market to buy fresh vegetables and fruits. “There were so many beautiful ingredients and I just loved it,” Jerome says.
Jerome started working in hospitality at a young age and at an age of 22, was appointed hotel manager for Sofitel in Grenoble, France. Since then he has always been involved in the food industry and gastronomy, responsible for many official dinners.
“Eleven years ago, my wife Florence and I visited Thailand for a fortnight’s vacation and on the flight back to France, we decided to move here.”
The couple first settled on the island Koh Samui, where Jerome’s older brother was already living with his Thai family. Here they created a restaurant called La Cuisine and also ran a successful charter yacht business.
“Florence started to work in the fashion industry, but we quickly realized we didn’t belong on an island; the laid back island life was not for us. So we relocated to Bangkok.
“During my first year in Bangkok, I walked around the city and explored almost every inch of the town and during those daily excursions I tried to figure out what I could do. There was this enormous choice of restaurants but I wanted to create something unique, to give my guests the feeling of being on an exciting adventure, feeling special and giving them luxury touches.”
As the art lover Jerome is, he was sure that gastronomy and contemporary food would make a perfect marriage. With his team in place, Jerome set up an enterprise catering for private, corporate and diplomatic dinners as well as other special events.
“Khun Charn believed in me and my concept and asked me to create those two evenings. I included art work from the famous Thai choreographer and dancer Khun Pichet, who from the age of 16 studied Khon, a classic Thai dance focused on classical and traditional Thai masks.”
With his friend and partner Chef Clement Herrandez’s assistance, those evenings were a great success. Chef Clement has experience from several Michelin Star restaurants around the world.
Some 90% of the guests were ‘Thai high-sos’ and loyal customers of the Gaysorn Shopping Mall.
So what is a typical, genuine French menu? “As a starter white or black truffle, depending on the season, frog legs, another popular French entre dish to be followed by a Zander with Charlotte onion Confiture, Chicken breast with Foi Gras and a jus reduced during 24 hours. Cheese is almost always included and I often choose the Epoisse, a soft cheese and the favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte.
“As a dessert, I often serve a kind of chocolate creation which most guests love.”
The foreign ingredients Jerome orders from his huge net of suppliers.
“I am also doing many private dinners mostly for Thai people. Nothing is impossible; you can ask for a romantic dinner on a beach, countryside or island wedding, a lunch or dinner on a cruiser, there are no limits.
“Ahead now are several great events on my ‘to do’ list. In February, there will be a black Truffle dinner at Gaysorn Urban Resort, located on the 19th and 20th floor at the Gaysorn Mall.
“My friend Clement Hernandez and some more chefs and a well trained staff will be at my side. I will also include my wife as an ‘art creator’ for those evenings.
“A dinner can be simple, but still unique.”
Which restaurants does Jerome like to visit? “In Bangkok I like a small French bistro called Bacchus on Sukhumvit Soi 16, their prices are affordable and the ambiance very nice. I also enjoy Indigo on Convent Road. It has a beautiful garden and a great choice of food, and small, private dinners among friends with interesting discussions are always enjoyable.
“I should also not forget the legendary restaurant Le Normandie at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, listed as the best French restaurant in Bangkok.”
What about the Chef’s absolute favorite dish? “Well, I will say Blanquette de Veau, a veal dish with a white sauce.”
Who would he like to dinner? “The Obamas, Paul McCartney, Harrison Ford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Roger Federer, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and the Pope. That would be an illustrious combination.
And the perfect venue? “A grand-siècle dinner in a concrete building like the old Custom House by the Chao Phraya River, next to the French embassy, with the addition of contemporary art and dances.”
What is his recipe for success? “Plenty of working hours, good and interesting ideas, thinking out of the box, a bit of luck and not to forget, having a strong woman by your side is always an extra plus.”