Chef Olivier Elzer of L'Envol, The St. Regis Hong Kong On French Fine Dining & Cooking Philosophies
In the vibrant culinary scene of Hong Kong, L’Envol leads when it comes to French fine dining. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant at The St. Regis Hong Kong is helmed by Chef Olivier Elzer, a name well-known even among the city's most prominent chefs. Over his 20 years of experience, he has contributed to the achievement of 25 Michelin stars and was awarded Knight in the Order of Agricultural Merit of the French Republic in 2022. He also opened his concept casual dining restaurant in Central, Clarence.
At L’Envol, the esteemed chef delivers an innovative interpretation of French haute cuisine that reflects his years of craft for French gastronomy. His meticulous choices from ingredients to the final presentation and constant strive for refining and redefining taste are key to his success. We sat down with Chef Elzer for an interview about his passion for cooking, L'Envol and The St. Regis Hong Kong.
1. How would you describe your cooking philosophy?
Classic French cuisine is of course the base of my gastronomy, as it's modern, creative, exquisite and can be adapted to different places. What I love to include is always the sensation. I have a different way of cooking depending on where I am. For example, I tend to cook in a casual way in Hong Kong and in a more fun way when I travel. My mindset is varied for each restaurant as the experience we would like to curate for guests is different. I'm hugely flexible and ensure every concept we execute delivers delightful experiences.
2. What do you love the most about Hong Kong?
There are many reasons! First, Hong Kong is my home. I fell in love with this dynamic city 14 years ago and its infusion of architecture. Needless to mention the impressive diversity of food here, many of them are very well-presented, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese...we just sometimes forget how Hong Kong is well equipped with all these savory cuisines. Not many cities possess such benefits. As a chef, this is simply perfect and interesting because I can study numerous food cultures and traditions. I am also amazed by the accessibility to ingredients. You can basically source ingredients from all over the world like France, Spain, Italy, America, Thailand, etc. Same with wine – Hong Kong is now a haven for wine, as many outstanding products can be found here! I also have lots of friends here who share the same passion and values.
3. What do you wish to bring to Hong Kong’s diverse culinary scene with L’Envol?
For me, L’Envol is a beautiful, modern French fine dining restaurant in an exquisite hotel, The St. Regis Hong Kong, that delivers an elegant experience in French cuisine with marvelous ingredients and creativity. We took some time to establish the entire talented team and restaurant, and I am thrilled to be part of it. Of course we wish to be awarded with three Michelin stars one day, I am very proud to present this superb restaurant in this area where we have been gaining the respect, appreciation and loyalty of our guests.
"As a chef, we cook not just to feed our guests but to create utterly memorable experience, this is also what our team has been striving for."
- Chef Olivier Elzer
4. Can you share with us your creative process when crafting a new dish or menu?
A creative dish to me means my tailored curation that can only be found at L’Envol. To design a new dish, it always starts with the ingredients. I will select a seasonal ingredient, such as lobster and truffle, that I want to showcase and that is where the idea comes up. We combine it with other ingredients to create the recipe. Inspirations behind can be drawn from colours, people, work, etc. Take LE CAVIAR OCIETRE PERSEUS NO.2 as an example, we source the razor clams from Brittany and pair them with two different textures of caviar. The creamy caviar paste infused is not used by many others and adds a creaminess to the razor clams. We then include a lemon dressing to add a hint of citrus together with the umami from razor clams. A beautiful dish is curated at last with all these ingredients and that is how we create a new dish only for L’Envol.
5. How would you describe the dining scene at L’Envol?
We present a comprehensive and exquisite experience at our delicate restaurant, including world-class service, diversified flavours that offer a sensation of travelling around the world, with a modern wine list consisting of well-known and rare names. As a chef, we cook not just to feed our guests but to create an utterly memorable experience, this is also what our team has been striving for. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing from a guest that the dining experience at L’Envol, every little detail, from hosts to service, food to desserts, wine to cheese, bread to butter, is just impeccable and this will surely stay in mind for a very long time.
6. What makes L’Envol unique?
Design – L’Envol is designed by André Fu, it is inspired by the inimitable savoir faire of French craftsmanship and haute couture. L’Envol is a contemporary French salon that fuses art, couture and fine cuisine, with a shot of French art de vivre.
Menus – include innovative and seasonal dishes
People – I am cooking with my team at L’Envol every day. They are passionate and work very hard every single day to deliver exceptional dining experiences to our guests.
Wine list – There are more than 1,000 references in red, white, rose and dessert wine. Rare vintage and limited edition bottles are also handpicked by Chief Sommelier focusing on small boutique wineries that are exclusively for The St. Regis Hong Kong.
7. What’s the best thing you’ve learned since becoming a chef?
I definitely learnt a lot and I am still learning every single day. I'm 44 years old now and started my career 30 years ago. I always love my job which is also my passion. Basically, I never stop learning. Also, the reality is that everything is evolving, and we need to adapt to the changes as well. I am becoming more mature day by day. As a chef, I think we have to evolve on a daily basis in terms of new, creative cooking styles and ways to curate more dishes.
What I have learnt the most is that a chef serves as the captain of team, yet a chef is nothing without the team. The team work and passion we pour in are the most important and what makes L’Envol unique. I just love to work with a passionate and hardworking team. I am so proud to assemble a team like L’Envol where we host international guests together. This is the way you earn the victory at last.
Photos courtesy of The St. Regis Hong Kong
"As a chef, I think we have to evolve on a daily basis in terms of new, creative cooking styles and ways to curate more dishes... What I have learnt the most is that a chef serves as the captain of team, yet a chef is nothing without the team."
- Chef Olivier Elzer
All imagery is provided by The St. Regis Hong Kong.
Address: 3/F, The St. Regis Hong Kong, One Harbour Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong | Website: lenvolhk.stregishongkong.com | Phone: +852 2138 6818 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Instagram: @lenvolhk | Facebook: @lenvolhk