Hong Kong Madame - English

French expats of Hong Kong: Mickael, General Manager of Plantin Kaviari

May 13th 2024

Published by Aude Camus 
From supplying the finest restaurants in town with French delicacies like caviar and truffles, to commemorating the 20-year anniversary of renowned chef Guillaume Galliot at the three-Michelin-starred Caprice, Plantin Kaviari  has solidified its position as the premier provider of premium French produce in Hong Kong. Having also launched their B2C activities, they're bringing restaurant-grade ingredients directly to discerning gourmets across the city. As the company celebrates 15 years in Hong Kong, we caught up with General Manager Mickael Riou to reminisce on their most exquisite memories and explore their vision for the future. Read on and get ready to drool. 
Hey Mickael, thanks for taking the time to catch up with us on Plantin Kaviari’s exquisite journey in Hong Kong over the past 15 years. Can you share the backstory of how the company established its presence in the city?

French expats of Hong Kong: Mickael, General Manager of Plantin Kaviari
Just like many beautiful tales, it started as a story of friendship. The company was born out of the mutual respect, and friendship between the owners, of Plantin, a supplier of fine French truffles, and Kaviari, a French caviar company. Hongkongers love affair with French gastronomy inspired them to join forces and open the company in the city, back in 2009.
Since then, the company has diversified its offering beyond truffles and caviar. How  does the team go about selecting the products and producers to include in your catalog? 

French expats of Hong Kong: Mickael, General Manager of Plantin Kaviari
As we work directly with chefs, we’re lucky to benefit from their knowledge and culinary adventures across the globe. We often hear first-hand from produce they’ve tried, and loved. 
What matters most to us? The savoir-faire of our suppliers, the quality of their products, and the friendships we forge along the way. We're practically family with all our suppliers—our doors in HK are always open, and likewise, we're welcomed with open arms in France every year.
Over the past 15 years, how has Plantin Kaviari observed the evolution of Hong Kong’s dining scene? What are some significant differences between the dining landscape then and now?
The dining scene here has blossomed like a culinary bouquet. And not only does the number of restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau has grown, the diversity of cuisines on offer has also significantly expanded. You can now find fine dining restaurants serving specialties from all over the world, unexpected fusions, and more … Chefs from across the globe bring their home country food to the city, elevating it with ingredients from abroad and therefore giving it a new dimension. This is truly amazing to witness. 
Could you provide insights into how local preferences for French premium produce have evolved over the past decade and a half?
Just look at cheese—it's gone from niche to mainstream here, and it’s not just the usual suspects! Hong Kongers have developed quite the palate for French fare. But alongside this love affair with French delicacies, there’s a growing appreciation for local ingredients. I also personally always like seeing local grown ingredients on a menu. I believe there’s a growing awareness when it comes to sustainability – we’re actually proud to have been ahead of the curve when we applied for the ‘Friends of the Sea’ certification for our Kristal® Caviar – acknowledging it’s sustainable and we contribute to marine conservation efforts. 
Speaking of sustainability and the growing demand for sustainable produce, have you adapted your practices to meet these expectations?
Of course. We’re always cooking up solutions to operate in a greener way - from recycling at the office to giving our caviar tins a second life through upcycling. Plastic is our latest foe, and we’re on a mission to reduce our consumption. Sustainability isn’t just a trend—it’s our recipe for a better future.
Beyond sustainability, what are some key trends you anticipate will shape the fine dining industry?

French expats of Hong Kong: Mickael, General Manager of Plantin Kaviari
There’s a hunger for more than just food. What’s on the plate will always be the main draw, but I believe it’s the stories behind the food, the ambiance, and the warm hospitality that will make customer come back or recommend the restaurant. So I anticipate a surge in creativity to provide a full-blown experience and keep guests entertained. 
Reflecting on the past 15 years, what have been some of the most memorable collaborations for Plantin Kaviari?
Oh, where do I begin? The Michelin Guide Ceremony in 2018 was a standout moment—we supplied the star-studded soirée with caviar, used by legendary chef Alain Ducasse for his dish of the night, and truffles, that found their way in chef Pierre Hermé’s dessert. More recently, we also supplied chef Guillaume Galliot’s 20th-anniversary in Asia – a culinary bash which brought a constellation of Michelin star under one roof. 
When it comes to our suppliers, the most memorable moments are always the ones we share – here in Hong Kong or back in France. We truly share the same passion. 
Can you share a significant milestone from Plantin Kaviari's journey in Hong Kong that illustrates the company's ethos?
Our recent 15th Anniversary Food Show, this April 2024, was a true embodiment of our ethos—celebrating friendship, French savoir-faire, and culinary excellence in the heart of Hong Kong. It’s not just business; it’s a delicious journey we’re honoured to share with our partners and customers.
Finally, what are your hopes and aspirations for Plantin Kaviari in the next 15 years?
First and foremost, we aim to keep serving up the same level of excellence our customers have come to expect. Beyond that, we dream of becoming synonymous with French gastronomy in Hong Kong, while nurturing our talented team along the way. Our Purchasing Manager, Louis, was our trainee few years ago and came back after finishing his studies. Our B2C Manager, Camille, arrived with a 6-month contract in 2018, but never left! She is now managing this newly created department. After all, it’s not just about the products—it’s also about the people who make it all possible.



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