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Shangri-La Hotel, Paris introduces Chef Samuel Lee Sum

Shangri-La Hotel, Paris introduces Chef Samuel Lee Sum

Dedicated exclusively to Chinese cuisine in Cantonese style, Shang Palace has become, since opening in September 2011, a popular destination for gourmets seeking to sample the delights of authentic Chinese food prepared by a starred kitchen.

Considered one of the refined cuisines in the world, the cooking styles of the Canton and Huaiyang regions hold few secrets for Samuel Lee Sum. Aged 33, he spent six years as executive chef at establishments in Tianjin and Kunshan.

Originally from Hong Kong, he joined Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Wenzhou, a city in the province of Zhejiang, China, in May 2013.

Chef Lee Sum discovered a love for cooking through his mother’s side, who introduced him to the subtleties of traditional Chinese cuisine. A subject about which he can happily talk all day, he also mentions Bobby Lo, executive chef at the Hong Kong Jockey Club in Beijing, as his mentor: it was with him that he really learned how to cook. At his side, the young chef was initiated into the complexities of accurate cooking times, of the different colours and combinations that have to be understood to give full expression of the natural flavours of seasonal products. Above all, he adopted a philosophy that refuses to accept the established way: this must always be challenged and taken a step further.

Chef Lee Sum brings this ambition to Europe’s first Shang Palace, where, accompanied by Executive Chef Christophe Moret, he intends to bring further credit to this unique restaurant in the heart of Paris. Constructed to match the luxurious refinement of the dining room, where the decor and service seem to suspend time, the menu’s generosity embraces the Asian tradition of sharing dishes between guests. This tradition will now be enriched by "Chef Lee Sum’s recommendations" for each season, such as the Shredded Chicken and Grapefruit Salad that delights with its mouth-watering freshness or the Quail Soup garnished with Bamboo and Black Mushrooms. Beautifully sliced, a Crabmeat and Onion Gratin is served in the shell, while Stir-Fried Beef is presented on a fried heart of palm, transformed into a delicate basket.

The restaurant’s signature starters include Salmon Lo Hei, a good luck dish that reveals a remarkable kaleidoscope of textures and flavours. A broth with poultry, pork, seafood, Chinese herbs and Hua Diao rice wine offers exquisite refinement. The sensation continues with traditional dishes, such as Beggar’s Chicken, roasted in lotus leaves and cooked in a clay crust, in accordance with legend, or the extraordinarily Tender Chicken cooked in a salt crust, flambéed in the dining room with rose essence liquor. Presented in two services, the glazed Peking Duck has a deliciously crunchy, yet meltingly soft skin, under which are slices of wok-fried breast.

Another signature dish, the Pot-Braised Cod on a bed of garlic and ginger is irresistibly delicate. Dainty Dim Sum Dumplings filled with scallops, shrimp, crab, pork and vegetables are a lunchtime speciality. Not forgetting the Chef's Sautéed Rice or the Shang Palace Rice cooked in lotus leaves. The Cream of Mango, Grapefruit and Sago Pearls, Shang Palace’s classic dessert, now has some delightful competition in the form of Chef Lee Sum’s "Sweet Recommendation": a sticky coconut rice covered with fresh mango.

Sommelier Maxime Verdier’s food and wine recommendations include, among other suggestions, a selection of four glasses (three white, one red) from among the 650 wines in Shangri-La Hotel, Paris’ cellar. Shang Palace also offers a tea list with 12 rare teas, such as a 20-year-old Pu Erh or a remarkable Oolong Dong Ding.
"The appointment of Chef Samuel Lee Sum to Shang Palace is part of a new chapter in the hotel’s history, which opened with the arrival of Chef Moret as executive chef. The hotel is now destined to shine in both French gourmet cuisine and Chinese cuisine in Cantonese style," declares Stefan Bollhalder, Shang Palace’s general manager.