Message from the Founder (old)

Asia, the continent that never sleeps. Over here, as a culinary professional looking for new inspirations, new ideas, I only have to take a few steps away from the glistening skyscrapers and brand new shopping malls…At the corner of a narrow street, one comes back to the very heart of tradition, Asian mysteries and typically local life scenes: Shanghainese families cooking stuffed buns in front of their homes, Hong Kongers enjoying dim sum at an old tea house…Amazing!

This is what makes the strength of Asia: its capacity to mix of long-held traditions and cutting-edge modernity, its ability to adapt and experiment. Asia is a fantastic blend of heritage, curiosity and audacity. How could we possibly find a better place to inspire new culinary talents?

Over several generations, we at Disciples Escoffier have been advocating our own blend of tradition and modernity. While upholding the classic foundations of fine French cuisine, as laid out a century ago by Auguste Escoffier, we also strive to be at the forefront of culinary innovation, and constantly adapt to changing times.

It was in fact Auguste Escoffier who believed that “cooking will evolve in parallel with society’s evolution, while always remaining an art”. This visionary man welcomed progress and encouraged new generations of Chefs to adapt and build upon the canons of culinary tradition. He foresaw that the nutrition principles would evolve, and at a time when extravagantly rich banquets were the norm, championed refined yet lighter, simpler dishes, made with fresh ingredients.

If Auguste Escoffier were still alive, the “King of Chefs, Chef of Kings” would be pleased to see the passion that his classic recipes and techniques have continued to inspire over the years. He would also marvel at the vast untapped potential for culinary innovation, all the cooking possibilities that a globalized meshing of cultures has brought about. And last but not least, he would be impressed by all these enthusiastic and talented young cooks, eager to learn more.

The heart of Disciples Escoffier’s mission, for over sixty years, has been the transmission of knowledge. Opening a professional cooking school in Hong Kong, the Institut Culinaire Disciples Escoffier (ICDE), along with our partner Towngas Cooking Centre, was therefore a natural step for us.

Beyond the overwhelmingly positive response from students, and the uncompromising support from Towngas, receiving full accreditation from the French Ministry of Education has been a huge vote of confidence in regards to the quality of our curriculum and teaching experience.

We are also extremely thankful to all the Master Chefs who have kindly been supporting us, taking time away from their Michelin-star restaurants to teach and spend time with our students at ICDE.

So, each day, with our friends, students and partners, we work restlessly and passionately, cooking according to the principles of Auguste Escoffier, and sharing his belief that “good cooking is the foundation of genuine happiness”!

Robert Fontana 

Disciples Escoffier International, Chairman Asia ex-Japan

Founder & CEO, Institut Culinaire Disciples Escoffier