Frederic Chabbert Petrus, 56/F Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central, 28208590 If Restaurant Petrus at the Island Shangri-La receives a Michelin-star rating in a future Asian guide, chef de cuisine Frederic Chabbert is more than prepared for a little extra pressure. His first assistant's job in a restaurant kitchen, at the age of just 13, was in a Michelin-starred restaurant, and all his subsequent experience in Europe was in establishments which at the time had one or more stars in the guide. 'After the first two months, you know whether you really want to be a chef, or if you can't handle it,' he recalls, adding that his early experiences taught him discipline. After graduation, Chabbert became commis de cuisine at the Michelin two-star Le Cerf restaurant in Alsace, and after five years gaining experience in other French establishments, he arrived at Le Pont de L'Ouysse, a Michelin one-star restaurant in Lacave, Lot. 'The chef there was a nice guy deep inside, but he was barking at you all day long. A very traditional French chef. He liked me very much, but in restaurants when you like people you push them. I stayed six months and it was very hard,' he says. By now Chabbert was building a reputation, and his next stop was Le Rousillon in London where he was appointed sous chef, and was again responsible for ensuring that the restaurant kept its prized star. Back in 1999, Alain Ducasse was regarded as the chef to gain experience with, and Chabbert made his way to Monaco to work in the kitchens of the Michelin three-star Le LouisXV restaurant where, he says, he absorbed Ducasse's philosophy that food should be 'full of flavours and without pretensions'. 'Four long years,' he recalls. 'When Ducasse was there, which he was almost every weekend, you could feel the pressure on.' After a short spell with Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, he joined Shangri-La in Kuala Lumpur where he took charge of the Lafite Restaurant, before moving to Hong Kong last year to take up his present position at Restaurant Petrus. Working in hotels in Asia is, he says, not at all similar to working in the Michelin-starred restaurants of Europe, although he feels the same level of pressure. 'It's totally different. You're in a group, there is a human resources department, you cannot do crazy stuff. It's different pressure. You put the pressure on yourself. They give you a restaurant, they give you a team, they give you a kitchen, and the ball is in your hands. It's not only cooking, you have to know your guests,' he explains. It is his Michelin-starred experience, however, that has shaped his style, which is fundamentally dishes based on high-quality seasonal produce presented 'the way they should be'. 'I'm a good son of Alain Ducasse, so I'm very product oriented. No crazy mixing, that's not my style. I try to extract the flavour and make it a little bit better. The concept is simple. Cook it properly and present it nicely. In April, we have good mushrooms, morels and asparagus will be in full season, and it's a very exciting season for market vegetables,' he says. One or more Michelin stars for Restaurant Petrus will be, he believes, 'a great compliment' but he doesn't think it will make any difference to the way the restaurant is perceived in Hong Kong. 'I think in Tokyo it was not very well received. Japanese customers have expressed scepticism. Here most of our guests don't need a book [to tell them where to eat]. They know exactly what they get here, and what they get there, but it would be good for Hong Kong because we get more internationally known and recognised.'