Chef Emmanuel Stroobant has indeed come a long way!
Hailing from Belgium, his career began at a tender age of 16 with the cleaning of dishes in one of his country’s best restaurants. He had hoped that this part time job would help pay his way through university as his first ambition was to be a lawyer. Whilst finishing high school and juggling between academics and his night job, Stroobant took an affinity to his working environment, and was soon on his way to peeling, chopping vegetables and making salads!
At 18, he well and truly chose the culinary path and enrolled at a hospitality institute in Belgium. For four years he was seconded to various parts of the country to experience different management styles and cuisine genres. Fortunately for Stroobant, his training stages encompassed some of the very best restaurants in Belgium that included one, two and three star Michelin establishments.
At 23, he opened his first restaurant in his hometown, Liege. It was an overnight success and after three summers, Stroobant yearned for another adventure to broaden and hone his craft. His travel took him through the continents of Europe, America, and finally settling into Australia for a period of five years.
Following that, he made a life-changing decision by heading to Asia. His maiden stop was to Kuala Lumpur in late 1997 and he adapted to the local scene and culture like a fish to water. Stroobant made it a point to understand the needs and wants of his patrons and his efforts were duly recognised when he was awarded the ‘1999 Best Expatriate Chef’ by World Asia Media. In that same year Stroobant and his wife Edina moved to Singapore to yet again experience another unchartered episode. They both joined a small café/restaurant located in an obscure part of Singapore called The Fig Leaf . Having grown fond of the hole in the wall concept, the husband and wife team did not remain with The Fig Leaf when it relocated to bigger and better premises. They thrived on the personalised custom accorded to each and every guest that visited their first restaurant, Saint Pierre, when it opened its doors in December 2000.
Eighteen months along, more accolades and awards were clinched by Stroobant for his flagship restauran Saint Pierre. The primary ones being Wine and Dine ‘Best New Restaurant 2002’, ‘Most Innovative Menu 2002, 2004 and 2007’ . World Gourmet Summi t – Award of Excellence, ‘Best New Restaurant 2002 and 2003’ , ‘Chef of the Year 2002 and 2006’ and ‘Restaurant of the Year 2007’ . In 2008, Saint Pierre became a member of Relais & Châteaux.
Saint Pierre moved to bigger premises in mid-2002, and then again in May 2013 with better frontage and more kitchen space to facilitate Stroobant ’s creative streak, and finally relocated in the heart of the city at One Fullerton returning to Stroobant’s fine dining métier. In the natural progression of his profession, Stroobant took to the task of writing two cook books, ‘Cuisine Unplugged’ and ‘Vine Dining – White’ which won the Gourmand World Media Award for “Best in the World Matching Food and Wine”. He also had his own television series titled, ‘Chef in Black’ , ‘Chef in Black II’ and more recently ’36 Ways to Live’ .
In addition to the books and TV shows, Stroobant was also much sought after for his consultant services by several local and foreign food & beverage establishments. He discovered that he derived much pleasure and understanding from his widespread business travel and his involvement with the various projects strengthened his scope of culinary information. Stroobant’s own stable of restaurants grew in Singapore and with it his commitment to and admiration for this small Island Republic. With his recently acquired Singaporean citizenship, he now calls Singapore home.
Stamping his brand of different food concepts into his string of eateries, Stroobant currently co-owns the following popular outlets. Brussels Sprouts offers Belgian fare and a rich variety of beers at The Pier @ Robertson and Quayside Isle @ Sentosa. Picotin Express, a family-style diner is situated at Fairways Drive. Sque Rotisserie & Alehouse, a casual dining bistro offering a wide variety of global cuisine and over 200 different types of international beers is located at The Central @ Clarke Quay. Rocks – Urban Grill + Bar, a contemporary barbecue restaurant with spectacular views overlooking the Marina Bay at The Sail @ Marina Bay. Saint Pierre Market is a gourmet delicatessen at Ngee Ann City, with an emphasis on fresh, artisanal produce, with more vegetables and fruits, and less meat – in line with Stroobant’s belief that a healthy outside starts from the inside! Shoukouwa is the latest addition to the Emmanuel Stroobant Group, a fine dining Japanese sushi restaurant opened March 2016 at One Fullerton, in partnership with Japanese cuisine specialist who also co-founded Sushi Shikon, three Michel in star Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong.
Stroobant was also appointed the preferred service partner of the Stamford American International School (SAIS) inculcating healthy eating habits to the young generation. His long association with the F & B industry both locally and internationally has more than stoked his passion for this. Through this partnership with SAIS, Stroobant hopes to develop healthy eating patterns that will give rise to good health. He is also a fervent practitioner of the belief that we can reduce our carbon footprint and protect our planet through our everyday food choices by simply eating less processed foods.