When did you decide to become a chef? "I was eight when I knew I wanted to become a chef. I didn't know why at that time, and until I was 14, I was going out and smoking and being a bad boy. Since I started working in the kitchen my life has changed. There is the sexy side and glamorous side of being a well-known chef. But it's tough work for chefs in small restaurants. We want to tell young chefs, if they were bad at school, it doesn't mean they would be bad in life." You've been the chef of a Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Meurice, and you run your own restaurant group. Which has been harder? "I am a real entrepreneur and I love to make things happen. The challenge is the same whether I am a Michelin three-star chef or running my own company [Le Groupe Yannick Alleno]. You have to be on top of it every single day." Your cookbook, Ma Cuisine Francaise, costs €1,500 (HK$16,000) and is published, so far, only in French. Do you think there is a market here for it? "I believe so. Over the years, I've always had this [book] project at the back of my mind. We began six years ago, shooting the pictures for 500 recipes and when we did this we said, 'Wow, we could make a special book out of them.' The writing also started six years ago, telling my story - where I came from and who my masters were. I wanted to write about my experiences and depict the evolution of food. This book is for those who love the arts. This is the biggest culinary book in the world, with 500 recipes, 600 pictures and 1,600 pages. This is a collector's item because there are only 1,000 copies available. It is intended for serious foodies. I am challenging Hong Kong to beat Taiwan. I sold 10 copies there." You've opened S.T.A.Y (Simple Table Alleno Yannick) restaurants in Beijing and Taipei. What is the concept behind S.T.A.Y and do you intend to open one in Hong Kong? "I have been thinking about opening a restaurant in Hong Kong but it is important to do business with the right partners. My partnership in Taipei is working out great so when the chance to open another S.T.A.Y came I said yes to Beijing. The relationship between local producers and chefs is important. In Taipei, the local farmers and suppliers approached us when they heard of our opening. In Asia, producers operate differently than in France, but they want to learn. S.T.A.Y will be a restaurant much closer to local people because it will use local produce. See L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and how it is positioned in the market. S.T.A.Y has the same concept. I love this philosophy. We want to cook in the modern way. We want to have modern chefs, modern restaurants and modern food." Aspiring French chefs have been incorporating Asian ingredients into their menus. What is your view on this trend? "My first time out of France was when I was 18 and I went to Japan. French chefs use a lot of Japanese producers. French food is a science and it combines many things. France borders Germany, Italy and Spain and it's influenced by all three. That's why its food is so rich. Now that we also use Japanese ingredients, the new breed of French food is different. Together we form a new DNA."