A true champion of talent – Julien Royer is the toast of the culinary world

Giulia Sgarbi - 08/08/2023


Few chefs are as widely loved as Julien Royer, the French-born star behind the success of Singapore restaurant Odette. Finding time between coaching his team, nurturing his growing restaurant stable and ensuring the Odette experience always delivers at the highest level, Royer reflects on his learnings from a life spent striving for perfection

You might think that, after having his restaurant announced several times as the very best in Asia, nothing could still surprise chef Julien Royer. But the Odette chef-owner says he was “shocked” when the other cooks in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list voted for him as the winner of the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award, the only peer-voted accolade in the programme. “It’s very special to be recognised by some of the world’s leading chefs, people whom I admire and have been following for years. It’s something very meaningful to me,” he says.
Royer received the Estrella Damm Chefs' Choice Award 2023 in Valencia from admired chef Joan Roca

Royer might have been born in Auvergne in France, but he has found his home in Singapore, where he led restaurant Jaan for several years before opening Odette, located inside the National Gallery Singapore. Since its inception in 2015, the restaurant has regularly collected trophies as part Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants as well as taking home The Best Restaurant in Asia accolade at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2021 and 2023.

Meet Chef Julien Royer in our video:

Praised for his modern, Asian-tinged French cuisine incorporating ingredients from across the continent, Royer is also a valued mentor to his team, explaining that “teamwork is the key to deliver the Odette experience”.

“We might be serving between 35 and 40 people, but there is a team of nearly 50 collaborators working behind the scenes and I really love them to shine,” says the 40-year-old chef. And indeed, only a few months ago, one of Odette’s rising stars, Louisa Lim, was named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef 2023, sponsored by Valrhona, among a string of accolades for the restaurant and its team.

A perfectionist through and through, Royer is always pushing towards the next goal. “We try to do better every day,” he explains of the refined tasting menu experience on offer at Odette, considered iconic in Singapore and beyond. “We can always improve something and we work with a lot of humility and integrity in that direction. I’m never quite satisfied with myself, so I try to push every single detail of the dining experience to create something with harmony and balance.”
Royer encourages his team to keep learning and growing 

Royer is known for his thoughtful progression: over his eight years at Odette, he has opened just two other venues in Asia – Louise in Hong Kong in 2019 and modern brasserie Claudine in Singapore in 2022. His first restaurant was named after his maternal grandmother, whose passion for good food and hospitality infected the young Royer, so his latest efforts also honour the women who have made a difference in the chef’s life.

The talented cook – who enjoys playing tennis and go-karting in his free time to decompress from the pressures of the kitchen – dedicates the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice trophy to his wife, Agnes. “We’ve been together for 20 years,” he reflects. “We actually met at hospitality school. She has always been supporting me in the shadows, giving me great advice when it comes to choices for my career. She has been an amazing support.”

Speaking to the cooks around the world who look up to him, Royer sends out an important message: “Be patient. It takes a few years to learn this craft, but that's the beauty of it. Take your time to learn every single stage of this beautiful job – it's very rewarding in the end.”

The list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2023, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, was announced on Tuesday 20th June at a live awards ceremony in Valencia. To stay up to date with the latest news, follow us on InstagramFacebookTwitter and YouTube, and sign up to our newsletter