Thierry Le Queau

Thierry Le Queau


Cooking Harmoniously with Nature


Well known for his admirable work ethic and unending passion for locally grown food, Chef Thierry Le Queau creates good, honest food at Mandarin Oriental Jakarta’s famed dining spots. Chef Thierry believes that understanding each ingredient and showing respect for fresh food will always result in distinctive, innovative creations.

Chef Thierry began his career as an apprentice at Le Jardin de la Tulipe, his hometown in Britanny. In July 2009, Thierry, who had always wanted to live in Asia, travelled to Indonesia and joined the Mandarin Oriental Jakarta where he has held the position of Executive Chef since the hotel’s re-opening. Here, he oversees every dining establishment including the brasserie-styled Lyon French restaurant, the all-day dining Cinnamon, Xin Hwa Chinese Restaurant and also takes charge of the banqueting events. In between his busy schedule, Chef Thierry shared with us his passion for cooking and the secret to how he’s made it this far.

Q: How did you start your culinary career?

A: I began my career at the age of 16 with an apprenticeship at a nearby restaurant, Le Jardin de la Tulipe, with my mentor being Chef André Doll. Eight years later, I went on to work with Adolphe Bosser, an inventor of nouvelle cuisine at Bosser’s restaurant, and later, I became the Sous Chef de Cuisine at Relais & Châteaux in Audierne.


Q: So what brought you to Jakarta? 

A: I have been in the business for 22 years now and Mandarin Oriental has always been a benchmark in terms of luxury hospitality. And since I have always wanted to live amongst the Asian culture and discover its rich heritage of food, making the move in 2009 was a no-brainer.


Q: You’ve been here for quite a long time now; what’s your favourite local dish?

A: The famous Beef Rendang. I like classic food and Indonesian cuisine still keeps its traditional dish at its best by using quality ingredients and fantastic spices.


Q: And what is one dish that you would highly recommend people to try at Lyon?

A: Steak au Poivre is one of our signatures and a very famous one among our regular guests. The dish itself is very simple but we are using top quality ingredients.


Q: So how would you describe your cooking style?

A: I am a seasonal and product-oriented chef, especially here in Indonesia where from time to time, sourcing and finding quality products becomes challenging. To me, every good product, grown with love and respect in its distinctive land, has an incomparable flavour. Without which, a chef is nothing. So my cooking style is more related to my country and region. I really like the classic way of cooking and I keep it real. I also find it important to preserve the culinary traditions of France.


Q: Other than seasonality, what else inspires each new dish you create?

A: First, I always ask myself the constant question, “how can I be different?” Then I draw a lot of inspiration from the local produce of Brittany. I believe that wherever you are, the most important thing is ingredients. Elegance, preciseness and simplicity are also key, and as a young chef I would try many different things in one dish, but as I’ve grown older, I now ask myself, “what can I take off the plate?”, because less is always more.


Q: From whom did you learn these admirable philosophies?

A: My grandmothers and my mother were my first idols and I give all the credit to them for engraving my beliefs into me. Through them, I learned my values, my strong work ethic and my drive; the drive to do a good job and to do a little better with each day. My grandmother from my father’s side worked as cook for a Chatelaine and she was always telling me what is good and what is not; through this experience, I formed my refined palate. She laid the foundations and introduced discipline to my career choices later on in life. And when it comes to attention to detail, I am exactly like my mother.

Also, like the men in nearly all families in Brittany, my father was a fisherman. This gave me access to the freshest seafood one can have and also, being a grandson of a farmer, I was always in touch with the reality of growing vegetables based on the seasons and helping out during the harvest time. This really built my understanding and respect for natural products.


Q: So who do you really love to cook for?

A: My family and close friends, as I rarely get the chance to.


Q: What does the future hold for you?

A: I’d love to educate or re-educate children and families regarding their way of eating, teaching them to respect our nutritional resources through sustainable cuisine. Chefs have an important role to play in ensuring restaurants across the globe embrace sustainable practices. Here at Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, we only use imported ingredients if it is something very special or something better than what we can get here.


Q: Any advice for budding new chefs?

A: Find pleasure in repetition. If repetition is not for you, then this is probably not the business for you.


Thierry Le Queau’s Signature Dish



Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the Beef Tenderloin:

750g Black Angus Beef Tenderloin

3 bunches Chives

2tsp Fleur de Sel

100g Freshly Ground Black Pepper




For the Poivre Sauce:

½l Heavy Cream

100cl Hennessy Cognac

100g Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2tsp Sea Salt

To Make

1. Carefully trim the chilled tenderloin into tournedos of 180g/piece. Slice against the grain so the meat remains tender.

2. Allow the beef to return to room temperature. Pat dry with a paper towel and rub with salt and crushed black pepper.

3. Sear and brown the steaks in a hot frying pan on both sides for about 2 minutes. Do not pierce the meat.

4. Remove the steaks from the pan and add butter to the sizzling fat drippings that remain in the pan. Return the steaks to the pan when the butter has browned and continuously baste the steaks until they are totally coated with butter.

5. Finish cooking the steaks for a few minutes in an oven at 180ºC.

6. Drip any remaining butter from the pan onto the steaks and flambé with the Cognac.

7. Add the cream and some more freshly crushed black pepper. Baste with a large tablespoon so the meat is fully coated in the sauce.

8. Finish cooking the steaks in the pan, about 7 minutes per side.

9. Remove the steaks, cover with a piece of aluminium foil and let the meat sit for at least 10 minutes.

10. Plate by pouring some sauce on the plate first, followed by the tournedos and top with some extra sauce.

11. Add the final touch by sprinkling with thinly chopped chives and cracked black pepper.

12. Serve immediately with Sucrine lettuce and Pont Neuf potatoes.

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