Imagine if Michael Jordan anointed you the next Michael Jordan. That’s essentially the situation for chef Christophe De Lellis, who’s putting out some of the most refined plates at one of the most renowned restaurants on the planet.
De Lellis was handpicked by Joël Robuchon to lead the Chef of the Century’s Michelin three-star restaurant at MGM Grand; others who have worked under Robuchon include culinary legends Éric Ripert and Gordon Ramsay. De Lellis, now 28, is the youngest head chef ever to serve at one of Robuchon’s esteemed eateries, of which there are currently 23 from Hong Kong to Paris.
Many would crumble under such weight, but De Lellis calmly explains the benefits of these expectations: “Of course there is pressure. When you want to be successful in this industry, you need to put some pressure on yourself to achieve your goals and touch perfection. Becoming executive chef for me was another step. All the lights are on me, so when you have a name like Robuchon behind you, there are no mistakes. You gotta make sure you are on point every day.”
Utilizing the Robuchon philosophy of “innovation, collaboration and modernity,” De Lellis is finding ways to push the cuisine in the restaurant and continue learning. He has recently taken workshops on cryoconcentration, a technique that freezes liquids or solids and helps allow chefs to use every part of an ingredient. “It might be the future of our culinary business because with this technique we can avoid waste,” he says. “We can use anything out of a vegetable with this technique.”
With his impeccable skills, thirst for knowledge and his focus on technique, there might come a day when De Lellis is named the chef of this century.