Chef Samuel Lee : “Cantonese cuisine takes its rhythm from the seasons, with respect for nature”
- 1 star Michelin chef in Paris
- only Chinese restaurant in France to have a Michelin star
- Authentic Cantonese cuisine
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The only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in France. Since opening in September 2011, Shang Palace has been dedicated exclusively to China’s Cantonese cuisine and become a popular destination for gourmets seeking to sample the delights of authentic Chinese food prepared by a starred kitchen. In March 2015, Samuel Lee took over the kitchen as Executive Chef.
Some of the most refined cooking styles in the world have come from the Canton region of China – and Chef Samuel Lee Sum knows how to unlock their flavors like few others can. Originally from Hong Kong, he joined Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Wenzhou, a city in the province of Zhejiang, China, in May 2013. From 2007 he spend six years as an executive chef at establishments in Tianjin and Kunshan.
Chef Samuel Lee discovered a love for cooking through his mother’s family. They introduced him to the subtleties of traditional Chinese cuisine, which is a subject he can happily talk about all day.
Chef Lee shown the complexities of accurate cooking times and taught about the different colors and ingredient combinations that have to be understood to give full expression to the natural flavors of seasonal produce. Above all, he adopted a philosophy that rejects the status quo. He always challenges himself to take his cooking a step further.
Call it destiny or whatever else you can conjure up, but since working in Paris for the last few years, the French capital has transformed the Hong Konger.
‘It’s very different working in Paris from Asia. In Paris, you feel a lot of competition. And not just from restaurants offering the same cuisine but also other restaurants. I feel very motivated by this environment.
‘In Paris, every chef has a philosophy of the cuisine. In Hong Kong, if you were to ask a Chinese chef “What is your philosophy”, the answer would be “Just cooking”. Now, I also think of cuisine as a philosophy. That is the biggest change since I arrived here. A total change of mentality.
‘I think of the ingredients from the start to when they end up on the table. I think about how ingredients are grown. And about presentation. I also read more about the history of Chinese cuisine. I keep things authentic and give ingredients their original taste.’
Samuel Lee remains very proud of Chinese cuisine while absorbing new influences from Paris.