Born in Paris, Philippe Rouchet studied the culinary arts from the age of 16. During his years of mandatory military service, at the age of only 22, he was appointed as chef for the French Minister of Defense. As his skills improved, he worked as a chef in restaurants on the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, cooking for many French celebrities, including former French Prime Minister Francois Mitterrand and well-known actress Audrey Tautou.
In 2004, Philippe visited Taichung for the first time. Deeply attracted by the diverse dining culture found near the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, he decided to stay and work for one of the restaurants there, Le Jardin de Giverny. In order to communicate with locals and learn English and Chinese, Philippe met Taiwanese English teacher Josephine, who not only taught him Chinese but also introduced him to local culture and cuisine. What started out as a Chinese lesson eventually led to their marriage and Philippe's prolonged stay in Taichung.
Although the French chef originally weighed over 100 kilograms, Taichung's mild weather helped him keep up with his exercise, as he enjoyed a variety of activities such as badminton and football (soccer).
According to Philippe, he has consequently lost a total of 30 kilograms, transforming him into the handsome, 70-kilogram gentleman that he is today. "Of course, my low-oil and low-salt French cooking also helped," he adds.
A taste of France in Dakeng
While hiking for exercise, Philippe became familiar with Taichung's various hiking trails, the Earthquake Park and the convenient parking areas found in the Dakeng Scenic Area. He also noticed that on weekends the place was packed with tourists. With this in mind, he opened a French tea house on DongShan Road with four friends, offering French cuisine and beverages to local visitors.
Quiche, resembling an egg custard tart with a crispy shell and soft filling, is Philippe's specialty and was also former French Prime Minister Mitterrand's favorite French cuisine. Philippe loves to chat with his customers, communicating his romantic, passionate character through words, gestures, writing or pictures. He also enjoys introducing the European dining style that he was used to in France to the friendly people of Taichung, maintaining his restaurant business on passion and friendship.