In a culinary world dominated by men, Anne-Cécile Degenne stands out as one of Vietnam’s most prominent chefs, who is also the extraordinary woman behind Ho Chi Minh City’s Café des Beaux-Arts, Saigon Kitchen Restaurant, Social Club Restaurant and Social Club Rooftop Pool & Bar.
Executive Chef Anne – the prominent chef who dedicates her lifetime for cooking passion.
With any first encounter with Chef Anne, many are struck by her authenticity & commitment to a lifetime of cooking. Born with the zeal to become a chef, Anne started her culinary career really soon at 15. Fresh and curious to learn everything, she asked the head chef to let her join every station and from there, she learned from real work, real people, which made her who she is today.
She worked her way up, showed people what she got under her sleeves, and astonished hearts at sight, smell, and taste. She then moved to Asia on her culinary journey, overseeing the kitchens for Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila & Sofitel So Singapore before becoming Executive Chef at Hôtel des Arts Saigon.
Inspired by the ingrained family tradition of cooking, her grandma and mother taught her to take pleasure in cooking. Her family’s deep passion for cooking meant she could spend all day in the kitchen: cooking, drinking, dancing, talking and overall thoroughly enjoying themselves!.
Cooking became Anne’s joy, driving her career & growth and never looking back: “This job is not a job...We are motivated by our passion. There are days when working is more difficult, but it is never painful, because when your job is painful, you need to stop it.” Her work ethic is unmistakable: work consumes 80% of Anne’s days, both stressful and harnessing for more exquisite culinary creations.
Beyond the kitchen, Anne lives another life of service. A dedicated mother of two young boys, she spends one hour each day, perhaps two (if she is lucky) to spend quality time with her family. Her life intersects when it comes to the deep love & passion for great food: her boys every day enjoy culinary creations prepared by her loving hands, packed with lots of care & love in the form of a lunch box.
As Mother’s Day closes in, she is reminded of her old memories when her Mum would cook up a feast for the whole family within the same day. They still keep their family cooking book which embraces all the old kitchen flavours filled with family passion, bliss, and love.
With a busy weekend ahead and a sold out Mother’s Day Sunday Brunch, she never forgets about her own family. This week, she called her mother asking: “What will you cook for Mother’s Day?” and warm memories of being back home in the kitchen with the women of her family celebrating over cooking and wine embraced her.
Anne’s life has been a beautifully woven story of family, love, food & passion.
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