Too many trendy restaurants put a story, a concept, a philosophy, before the product. It annoys me – the story can be superb but there is no action to it. I’d rather put the action first and then let it tell the story. I run a restaurant, not a fashion brand.
My name is Julien Royer and I am a chef, husband and friend – though, because of my crazy work schedule which ends after midnight, my friends tend to be those within the industry. We understand one another’s work and like to spend time together and talk about it; I also like to talk about football. With my wife, I like to talk about current affairs, economics, the problems of the world.
My job might take 80 per cent of my time, but I am always reminded that my work is not just about me. There is a bigger picture to it – a bigger environment populated by different people.
Alone, you are nothing. Even the most beautiful inspiration will come to nothing, because you need hands to create dishes.
Not just hands to execute dishes and to serve them, but also to nurture the produce, to make the wines, to craft the cutlery, to shape the flatware. All these passionate people, not just those whom I work with every day but even those sometimes away from us, are a great source of inspiration. Because, even if we are doing different things, we share the pursuit for excellence.
So, if there is a story that I want to tell, it would be that of those people. The opinions, desires, expectations of everybody all combined into one restaurant that is Odette.
At the end of the day, we are not artists or poets. “Artist” is a title bestowed upon you by others when they recognise the sophistication of your craft; you cannot call yourself an artist. I will never want to be called an artist, because it signifies that you’ve reached the epitome, the end of the road.
I am an artisan who wants to continue to perfect his craft, with the help of many others. And I think that is a beautiful story.
- Julien Royer