Sixteen-year-old Emmanuel Stroobant was well on his way to realising his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer when a stint at one of Belgium’s best restaurants sparked off a lifelong passion for the culinary arts. Drawn to the hustle and bustle of kitchen life, Emmanuel subsequently learned the ropes from maestros like Pierre Romayer from Three MICHELIN–Starred Maison de Bouche and Francis Dernouchamp from Two MICHELIN-Starred l’Hostellerie Saint-Roch.
If his formative years were spent getting schooled in classic French cooking, his move to Australia, Malaysia and Singapore exposed him to the innovative world of modern fusion cuisine. Saint Pierre was born in December 2000, a fine dining restaurant showcasing an amalgamation of French culinary techniques with an Asian edge. It also established Emmanuel as one of Singapore’s culinary pioneers of modern French cuisine, in a country that was then largely dominated by traditional French diners and American steakhouses.
Over the years, Emmanuel’s influence in the industry grew along with an increasing string of accolades; he was named Chef of the Year by World Gourmet Summit in 2002 and 2006. Together with his team, Saint Pierre earned its first MICHELIN Star in 2017, retained it in 2018 before upgrading to a second MICHELIN Star in 2019, an accolade the restaurant has held ever since, putting the restaurant on the global culinary map and sealing Emmanuel’s position as an innovator in the food and beverage industry.
Despite the numerous stellar accolades from the media and MICHELIN Guide Singapore, he maintains a laser-like focus on propagating his unique brand of contemporary French cuisine to his diners. Following Saint Pierre’s recent makeover, its new menu is inspired by the Zen Circle, which symbolises enlightenment and the freeing of the mind to create unreservedly, a principle which the avid yoga practitioner lives by.
“The cuisine at Saint Pierre today is a reflection of my culinary journey and how I straddle the line between East and West. Over the years, I have evolved and refined my understanding of cross-cultural cuisine to strive for balance on the plate,” says the 54-year-old Singaporean.
Apart from his flagship restaurant Saint Pierre, Emmanuel also expands his footprint with other concepts, including Shoukouwa Sushi Restaurant, SQUE, and Kingdom of Belgians. He is an author of two cookbooks, Cuisine Unplugged and Vine Dining – White. In addition to his own television series, Chef in Black, Chef in Black II and 36 Ways to Live, Emmanuel is also sought-after for his consultancy services. His influence extends beyond Singapore: he recently launched a new project, Tusita Fine Dining in Siem Reap, which aims to put Cambodian cuisine on the international stage. A keynote speaker at conferences in Singapore, such as Food That Heals, and in the region, Emmanuel is a passionate advocate of mindfulness and healthy living.