“Eating is so intimate. It's very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you're inviting a person into your life.”
CHEF ROMAIN DUPEYRE, SIROCCO CHEF DE CUISINE
France is known for its delicious cuisine. And with so many regional permutations - and indeed modern day innovations - Chef Romain’s home town, the Southern city of Nice stands out with fresh seafood and tasty specialities.
Chef says: “I started cooking when I was 15 years old. My Grandma was a really good cook. I used to love eating at her place. She taught me all the basic techniques and from there my passion grew.”
Niçoise cuisine is a mixed bowl of French elegance, with handfuls of Provençal, lashings of Italian and a mixed bag of spices from the Middle East. A number of France’s best-known dishes originate in Nice. “In the South of France we use a lot of Mediterranean products. A lot of spices like from Morocco and influences, like fresh seasonal produce from Italy. It's a big mix. Not as heavy as the North with less butter and cream. In the South we use more olive oil, vegetables and fish. It's more light,” says Chef Romain.
When Chef Romain joined Sirocco he had been working at a number of Michelin star restaurants around the world. His first apprenticeship was the famous a two Michelin star, Golden Goat. Chef says: “It was a was a seasonal restaurant so a very good way to understand local, seasonal produce.” After that he went to Ireland and he was invited to open the Paris Shangrila with Chef Philippe Labbé. From there it was a three hat (Michelin equivalent) in Australia. “I then went back to France where I reopened the Ritz Paris. I was Sous Chef there for 2 years. We received 2 stars for dinner and one star for lunch just nine months after opening. It was very classic French food.”
Chef’s style, however, is very modern and contemporary. He says: “Even the chef’s I worked with that were ‘classic’ were always innovating. They would take something and make it new, still respecting the products and tradition… but making it relevant.”
Chef Romain joined the lebua team at iconic Sirocco in 2018. “It was time for a new adventure for me. I came here, cooked one night and they loved it. So I stayed!” (‘Yes I watched the Hangover movie’, he laughs). “It is an honour to continue the Sirocco tradition of serving truly great food to all the guests at lebua’s first rooftop restaurant; and to be a part of the world’s first vertical destination.”