ジョエル・ロブション・インタビュー(Forbes Travel Guideより）
You recently launched a vegetarian menu called Food & Life, aimed at offering healthier high-end cuisine. How does this differ from your Degustation tasting menu?
Well, there may actually be two of these [Food & Life] menus: One, which is eight or nine dishes, will be the true Food & Life menu; then, we will have a secondary, which will be adapted from our [Degustation] tasting menu, which is 18 dishes.
I heard you might even make a move toward presenting a vegan menu?
I’m not going to insist too strongly on that, but it is eventually a move. It’s something that I’m certainly learning, something I want to make sure is done correctly, especially with all the changes that we do seasonally. But one thing there will be absolutely none of is gluten. We are removing all gluten from the [Food & Life] menu. But this [vegetarian] menu, if I think about it, there are no eggs — so, we’re getting there. It’s still very difficult, and we have to be cautious before we actually fully unveil the menu [as vegan]. In the U.S., there are quite a few vegans and vegetarians, but even in Singapore, where I have restaurants, there are a lot, perhaps even more than the U.S.
How do you justify the $445 price to someone who is wondering how the vegetarian version could be the same price without meat?
There is actually a lot of work that goes into vegetarian dishes, and it’s not necessarily the produce that’s expensive. In this case, it’s the man-hours that go into preparing all of these dishes. If you think about the tomato dish, just that one dish itself and the garnish, it really does take a lot of work. It’s the work that justifies the price. In our profession, labor is the most expensive cost. The general public is not aware of it, because they know that certain vegetables are cheaper than animal protein.