Southeast Asia is a popular destination for Western chefs. Whether in Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan, there are plenty of good eateries, and local restaurants are keen to tap into the expertise of Western chefs, who can expect to live comfortably. Today we are going to Taipei to meet Gildas Périn, a young 26-year-old chef from France who cooks in Taiwan. We have already presented the stories of Jérémy Biasiol in Hong Kong and Alexandre Panek in Singapore. This article is about Gildas Périn.

A CHEF IN TAIWAN: A VOCATION THAT IS NOT A VOCATION – BUT THAT QUICKLY BECOMES ONE

While Gildas Périn might be an experienced chef today, it was not his vocation that made him a successful cook. He grew up in the United States in idyllic Santa Barbara, returning to France at the age of 15 to live with his father.

During the seasons and on weekends he worked at the Royal in Deauville, a major establishment in the region where he met one of his mentors, Eric Provost. During this time, he completed an internship in Pauillac under Jean-Luc Rocha. He was encouraged by this experience of working in a 2-star kitchen and being confronted with fine dining on a daily basis. He knew he definitely wanted to work in the trade.

CULINARY COMPETITIONS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

After two years of seasonal work, spending the summer at the Royal in Deauville and winters in Chamrousse, where he also met his wife, Gildas decided to settle down. He joined the team at the Westminster hotel Le Touquet, experiencing its Michelin-starred cuisine. His manager encouraged him to take part in culinary competitions. After the competition “Creations and Flavours” in 2014, where he came second, he also won the renowned competition of the presidency of the Republic the following year, which opened new doors for him.

At the age of 23 he went to Paris and the prestigious Ritz, where he held the position of first chef de partie. He worked under the leadership of chef Nicolas Sale, who supported him immensely and who he felt was the embodiment of the perfect chef. From that point on, a successful career seemed inevitable. Satisfied with his position, he met the esteemed Yannick Alléno, who was interested in Taipei and looking for someone for his second restaurant.

Gildas recalls his recruitment fondly. “It was a special setting, similar to a competition. He asked me to feed him. He provided everything I needed, and once I had finished preparing, we ate together. At the end of dinner, he told me that I was welcome aboard.”

DISCOVERING DISTANT BUT INVITING HORIZONS: A CHEF IN TAIWAN

Alléno’s goals in Taiwan were very clear. The restaurant should be included in the 1st edition of the Michelin Guide. All the necessary arrangements were made to make his stay in Taiwan very comfortable. However, the restaurant faced closure at the end of the year due to rental problems.

“A Western chef will have no trouble finding work in Taiwan. As soon as I had sent out my first applications, I got a lot of responses. I was able to get right back to work.” Despite all the stress, Gildas does not regret his choice and he now sees it as a springboard. “The people’s friendliness here knows no bounds, and the living environment is perfect. I recommend all my colleagues to have such an experience.”

Today Gildas Périn is Deputy Executive Chef at a hotel in Taipei. We’ll be sure to keep you informed.