Asia's Top Rated Chef Was Inspired by his Grandmother to Start Entrepreneurial Journey

French chef Julien Royer, founder of Singapore-based restaurant Odette, has named his eatery after her

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Remembering childhood days in France, chef Julien Royer shared one of his life's greatest influencers, the one who inspired him to become what he is today: a chef and an entrepreneur.

Chef Julien Royer’s grandmother Odette in Cantal, Central France

"My grandmother, Odette, has been my guide. Watching her cook, I learned of the joy and love that comes from creating a dish, and how love can be expressed through food. The kind of emotions that can be passed through food was the impetus for me to start cooking," says Royer, founder of Odette, a fine-dining restaurant that recently topped the list of Asia's 50 best eateries.

While growing up in a family of farmers in the French countryside, Royer learned to respect the wholesomeness of a dish and its ingredients, and developed an understanding of food and creativity in cooking. "My first venture into the kitchen was under the legendary Michel Bras in (French town) Laguiole who instilled in me a respect for the integrity and purity of each ingredient in every dish," says Royer. "I then moved to Durtol (also in France), where I worked for chef Bernard Andrieux who helped reinforce my reverence."

Royer then travelled to London, where he became sous-chef to Antonin Bonnet at Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant, The Greenhouse. Royer moved to Singapore in 2008 to take on the role of chef de cuisine at JAAN, Swissotel, the Stamford, which has received numerous accolades, including No.11 spot on Asia's 50 best restaurants 2015 guide and No.74 on the world's best restaurants 2015 long list. And then came the opportunity to open restaurant, Odette.

(This article appears in the June 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)