Anne-Cécile Degenne is one of the very few female executive chefs of this caliber in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. She is friendly and has a good sense of humor and doesn’t mind to adjust her cooking to match the markets. Having both academic degree (Culinary Arts and English) and real life experience started working for Starwood and for luminaries like Bill Clinton, took part in Top Chef France Season5, and opened several successful restaurants for AccorHotels, from that, she has accepted the challenge of taking the reign of the culinary team at Hôtel des Arts Saigon, in order to position the commitment of AccorHotels when it comes to food and beverage.
Hotelintel.co had an opportunity to meet with Chef Anne-Cécile and tried her food. It was hard not to interview her.
What is Asian Food?
A few years ago in France, when you go for “Chinese restaurant” it was not Chinese at all. When I started travelling around Asia, I realized that it was actually 70% Vietnamese food and 30% mix Asian food. I used to work with the world-famous Mr Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a classically trained French chef who infuses Asian flavors into his cooking with being trendy, and I can recognize many inspirations coming from Vietnam today.
After having lived in Asia and discovered many ingredients, I would call “Fusion food” influenced cuisine. We have been influenced by the food customs of Vietnam, but has adopted and refined them to create its own unique cooking style and eating habits for Social Club Restaurant. We are having on the menu seared foie gras with local ginger plum, which we poached in a ginger syrup, and this give definitely an Asian taste to your dish.
My favorite Vietnamese food is the Pho. It was the first Vietnamese dish I tried. I love all the fragrance inside, from the aromatic noodle broth to its full herb flavor and delicate texture to awaken your senses. It can be considered the national dish of Vietnam and usually consumed for daily breakfast, yet you can eat it any time during the day.
The Boss of a Kitchen
Sometimes it is still hard for some people to understand that women can be seen to be doing the equal of men. So, our role as female chefs is to show that we’re just as passionate and do our best otherwise they will think you are incapable of doing things
Chef Anne-Cécile commented further that a skill can be taught but having a really good attitude towards the team and business objectives are what she is looking for in her kitchen