With a thick French accent, a passion for cooking, and a big heart; Christophe Buzare is the Executive Chef at Hotel G’s Babett. The restaurant, with its signature framed pictures walls, wooden furniture and terrace, is a frequently talked-about spot in Yangon’s foodie society. Despite being the Executive Chef, Christophe is sometimes seen having a quick chat with customers—with a warm smile on his face. Here he talks about his philosophy on food, and why he became a chef.
Where are you from?
I’m from the West of France, Brittany, close to the sea.
How did you discover your passion for food and decide to become a chef?
In France, it is customary during your teenage years to start thinking about what you want to do for a living. With the help of my family – my elder sister working in the tourism business, and with my father – I had the opportunity to work in a restaurant. When I first started, I loved the atmosphere, the work, the team spirit and developed a liking turned to passion to cook good food that will put smiles on people’s face.
How did you end up in Babett?
I came to Myanmar in 2010, and started at Le Planteur as Chef de Cuisine, and then at Kandawgyi Palace. I worked at the Strand Hotel, after the first round of renovation in 2016 when The Strand Restaurant reopened. The Strand and Hotel G being part of the same group, GCP Hospitality, the group Executive Chef offered me the opportunity to be Babett’s Executive Chef when the project first started and it has been a great experience ever since. Not only is the location excellent, which is good for business, but the product and concept are also different from what you have in town, which is why our guests love Babett and keep coming back.
What was the dish that made you love food?
In my native Brittany, Crêpe is really popular. When I was very young, my grandmother used to make me these crêpes, after school time. She would top them up with chocolate and sugar. Basic but it was really the best! BTW you can also try my other desserts as the Chocolate Volcano or the crème brulée, other favourites of mine!
What do you enjoy most about working as a chef?
What I like most is the team spirit that we have at Babett—my Sous-Chef has been working with me for the past 8 years, we always work hand in hand. Another thing I love is seeing all these young cooks I recruited improve with us and growing into their career, there is nothing more rewarding. Most important of all, the feeling that I get when people come to Babett, taste the food and obviously enjoy it, as they do their time at Babett. Whenever my customers are happy, I am too.
What kind of chef are you? Traditional or Breaking New Barriers?
I am a very traditional chef. Here at Babett, we cook French and Mediterranean cuisine; what I call simple bistro food which requires quality ingredients, good homemade sauce or seasoning, and organic vegetables. Our space is convivial, invites people to come and feel happy. Simple food but good!
What’s your favorite Cooking TV Show?
Do not laugh at me, I like Masterchef France, and Masterchef Myanmar—the judges Michel and Ye Htut Win are actually good friends of mine.
What should someone coming to Babett expect?
Expect spending a good time with your friends or family, even if you are by yourself. Whether you are up to eating something healthy, good meat cuts, or more elaborate French specialties such as Beef Tartare and Pan-fried Foie Gras, and affordable wines, Babett caters for many tastes which you won’t find anywhere else in Yangon. We have a nice dry-aged beef section, and we make great barbecues. As for vegetables, we source organically from small farmers around Myanmar— whom we try to support as much as we can.
Do you have any hobbies?
I play golf pretty often. When you’re a chef, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I enjoy the outdoors and the sun— and maybe get some Hole-in-Ones.
Do you have a favorite dish?
It may sound simple but I would say the Mashed Potato, that I love to make. It’s a customer’s favorite, mostly because we add a lot of butter and seasoning which makes it creamy, soft and amazing. It is of course available on our A la carte menu alongside other dishes.