Yannis Martineau is Executive Chef of the luxury train the Eastern & Oriental Express. He came aboard in 2007 from the celebrated Belmond Road to Mandalay river cruiser in Myanmar, where he oversaw a team of 12 chefs.

We chat to him about cooking from an international point of view, and his attraction to tiny kitchens!

 

A Chef portrait of Yannis Martineau
by Victoria Burrows

 

Chef Yannis, you were born in France, and you’ve cooked in Florida, across Europe, the Caribbean, and through Asia – does your approach to cooking take inspiration from these different cultures?

Having travelled the world has evolved my ideas and made me understand specific requests of certain customers according to their country of origin. I’m currently focusing on Asian cuisine with local ingredients, but I believe you can always find your taste no matter where you come from.

 

How would you describe your cooking style?

On the one hand, very rigorous, and on the other, in terms of Asian flavour, rather recreational.

 

 

You’ve shown a particular interest in pastry and chocolate-making, working with Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Lecoq in Paris, with Guy Krenzer and Lionel Lallement – what draws you to pastry, and is it still something that you’re passionate about?

I still love pastry as it requires accuracy and complete understanding of the products and physics.

 

You’ve cooked on trains and cruise ships. Is there something that appeals to you about cooking on the move?

The challenge of working in a narrow kitchen and the beautiful view of Southeast Asia from the kitchen window.

 

Don’t you find these small kitchens a challenge, especially as the guests on the Eastern & Oriental Express, for example, expect a very high standard of cuisine?

It’s a real challenge on every trip but that is the beauty of my job and it takes good organisation and logistics to get there. Only with this can we produce such high standard cuisine.

 

 

Have you ever had issues with accessing or storing supplies on board a train or ship?

Yes, it has happened to me but I‘ve always been able to serve my customers. Once again logistics is key.

 

On 18th – 20th November 2018 you’ll be journeying from Singapore to Bangkok. Can you please give an idea of the sort of dishes you will be serving on the journey?

We take inspiration from the countries we’re travelling through, so, for example, in Malaysia we’ll be serving typical dishes such as Nasi Goreng or Laksa Soup.

 

Thank you, Chef Yannis, and we wish we could be on this wonderful train journey with you.

 

 

Imagine you are on this luxury train going to an exciting destination and drinking Tom yam cappuccino with fennel and celery.
Click on the picture to find the complete recipe.

 

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