This architect-turned-chef will challenge your palate and change the way you eat with his experience 

Born in Vietnam and raised in France, Chef Jean Yves has mastered the art of fusing culinary techniques and traditions. An architect by trade, he’s now designing gourmet plates of food in his 3rd arrondissement Paris home. There, he becomes your private chef for the evening. One look at his reviews, and it’s clear that he is known as much for his unbelievable creations as for the grace with which he serves them — teaching you how and why certain flavors work together, challenging your palate, and telling the story of every dish. Read on for his full story.

Tell us about yourself. What did you do before Eatwith?

I was born in Vietnam and grew up in France. I came to Paris for my studies (diplomatic relations and architecture) and have lived here for almost 25 years. I am a professional architect, but after winning MasterChef 2012 in France, I decided to dedicate my life to gastronomy.

Tell us about your culinary journey. How did you start cooking?

I started to cook when I was 10 years old. It was my first passion. I remember I followed my mother each time she went to the kitchen, just to spy on her cooking. One day she asked me if I wanted to prepare dinner for all of my family, we were 7! Without hesitation, I said yes. It was my first challenge and inspiration.

What's your favorite thing about hosting?

Cooking well is not enough to succeed at making a good meal. You have to love what you’re doing, and have passion. You have to explain what you feel when you cook and how and why your guests can appreciate flavors differently. At an Eatwith dining experience, you open your door to invite your guests to enter into your world. You make them travel through flavors, colors, and shapes.

Tell us about your most memorable or standout Eatwith experiences.

One day, I received 3 different couples from Israel. During the dinner, they realized that they live in the same district, but had never met before. They decided to keep in touch and invited me to come and visit them in Israel. Now they’ve become friends. I still get news from them, and they’re still waiting for me to come and visit them for a big party! This experience made me realize how this concept can make people closer.

Tell us your funniest stories from your table!

I once received a family of six, with a grandmother, daughter, son-in-law, and children. At the beginning of the meal, the grandmother was a bit quiet and skeptical… but after some wine, she started to laugh and ask all about sexuality in France! We had a lot of fun. I realized that in experiences like these, time no longer exists. Generations easily come together and create a fabulous, timeless exchange.

What is your favorite part about living in Paris?

Paris is composed of small arrondissements. Each of them has a different ambiance. It’s like a group of small villages. Paris is unique, romantic and magical. It’s influenced by its history. If locals show you the way, you will definitely appreciate the experience. Especially with food.

Where would you send a food lover traveling to Paris?

To the “brasseries,” where the food is homemade, and a sure value. I know some very good ones! No need to catch the stars to go on the moon.

Check out Jean Yves’ upcoming menus on Eatwith!