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Chefs’ Watch Collections: Why Emmanuel Stroobant’s only branded wear is watches

Chef Emmanuel Stroobant on why a Bell & Ross watch is his favourite companion in the kitchen.

Emmanuel Stroobant

INSTRUMENT OF CHOICE: BELL & ROSS BR 03-92 IN BLACK PVD STEEL

The man behind one-Michelin-star restaurant Saint Pierre, Emmanuel Stroobant has long been revered internationally as a grand chef of Relais & Chateaux. Known also for his passion for holistic wellness, the certified yoga instructor lives a disciplined lifestyle and is vegetarian by choice. Under his guidance, the cuisine at his modern French restaurant is as indulgent as it is sublime.

(RELATED: Saint Pierre has been a regular fixture on our G Restaurant Awards.)

His company, Emmanuel Stroobant Group, also collaborated with Japanese cuisine specialist Hanachiyo – co-founder of Sushi Shikon, Hong Kong’s only three-Michelin-star Japanese restaurant – to open fine-dining sushi restaurant Shoukouwa. The restaurant would become the only Japanese restaurant to be awarded two stars in Singapore, just four months into its opening in 2016. The accomplished chef, entrepreneur, husband and father recently celebrated his 50th birthday – and some might say his biggest achievement is to look like he has managed to stop time.


“EDINA (MY WIFE) AND I SHARE MOST OF OUR WATCHES, BUT THIS BELL & ROSS IS JUST FOR ME.”


WHAT MAKES ME TICK

01 THE WATCH MAKETH THE LOOK

Watches are the only “branded” item I wear. I have no interest in clothes, bags or shoes – only nice timepieces.

02 KEEPING IT SIMPLE

I started my watch collection about a decade ago and now have around five timepieces (including an Omega diver for diving trips, a Panerai, and an Apple Watch). I like large pieces and have a personal preference for square bodies. My taste for watches has not changed much – I have always preferred the contemporary to the classic. Also, I don’t need a lot of functions on my watch, so I prefer the design to be simple.

03 ROUGH AND TUMBLE

This Bell & Ross watch was a 40th-birthday present from my wife, Edina, and it is what I wear most often. Work in the kitchen is rough, so I require something of a solid make to take me through day-to-day operations. I’m not worried about it getting dirty either, as I can just give the fabric strap a rinse.

04 THE WATCHMAN

There are clocks and timers in the kitchen, but I use my watch as a reference time. I don’t often work at the stove now; I’m usually the caller. I refer to my watch so I know when an order was placed to the kitchen, and how long guests have been waiting. I also use it to keep track of the times between courses. I feel lost without my watch. On days when I forget to wear it, you might catch me glancing at my bare wrist constantly.

05 SLOW LIVING

I like to take it free and easy, when I am not working. However, I also teach yoga as a hobby and, again, time is essential – be it the few seconds to hold a pose or the perfect timing of a full class. I also really dislike being late, so keeping time remains an important part of my life even when I am off duty.

 

An earlier version of this article misstated the Emmanuel Stroobant Group’s partner for the restaurant Shoukouwa. The article has been updated to reflect the correct partner.

Chefs to “Watch”: Emmannuel Stroobant | Jason Tan | Jeremy Nguee (to come)