In this episode, Ragnar talks with Christophe Megel, an award-winning man of many talents. With a career spanning the industry, he started out at top restaurants, made friends with former boss Alain Ducasse, received honors as an educator, and built the largest hopsitality solution provider in southeast Asia. Now he’s taking on the Ozone in a way you won’t expect.
Megel was born into a third-generation family of chefs in the Alsace region of France. There was no choice to “become a chef” for Christophe; his grandfather, father and elder brother had forged the way. After growing up in the family business, when it came time to spread his wings, he soared. He landed his first job at the Monte-Carlo in Monaco with luminary Master Chef Alain Ducasse. After 10 years, Ducasse sent him to Le Cirque in New York City.
In the mid-90s, Christophe made a move to Asia that would ultimately change the course of his career. After opening a 3-Michelin star hotel restaurant in Seoul, in 1996 he joined the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company in Asia. First in Japan, and then as Executive Chef at the Milenia in Singapore, his culinary leadership delivered awards and accolades to the already illustrious reputation of the Ritz. Over the course of his 10 years tenure, he played a key role in many of their hotel openings.
By 2006 Christophe had more awards under his belt, including Best Asian Cuisine Cookbook in the World at the Gourmand World Media Award for “Asian Tapas: Small Bites, Big Flavours”. He’d also taken on the role as President for Bocuse d’Or Singapore. Meanwhile in France, he was knighted a Chevalier in Ordre National du Mérite by the President of the French Republic, the youngest chef to receive the eminent distinction.
Then he met Dr. Kwan Lui, founder of At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy. Christophe joined At-Sunrice as its Chief Executive Officer and helped to lead the academy into a new age. Together with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), they set up a national Work Skill Qualification program known as the WSQ framework and launched the first WSQ Diploma in Culinary and Pastry Arts in 2006.
During his time there, At-Sunrice moved to a new state-of-the-art campus and won several prestigious culinary awards, including the “Edutrust” qualification. For his great efforts, Christophe was personally awarded the Work Skill Qualification & Advocate Award by the WDA.
In March of 2014 Christophe decided to establish a new company focusing on strategic partnership for food and beverage management, providing business intelligence to F&B operators and chefs. Out of his 30 years of expertise in the industry came A-Munition Pte Ltd. The private equity firm invests in young entrepreneurs in the F&B environment.
From restaurants and wineries to operating supply companies, culinary schools, “it’s a very diverse portfolio and I really enjoy myself,” says Megel. “It’s been great fun and I have no regrets whatsoever.”
Christophe is also Executive Director of Q Industries, a leading supplier to the hospitality industry in the ASEAN and European regions with sales offices located in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Belgium. When he joined the company, the same year he founded his own, “[the founders] approached me and they said, ‘Christophe, would you like to join the company and help us to do business transformation, business development and help us to bring our second generation into the leadership seat?’” That’s exactly what he’s done.
“It was very timely because I really thought I had a lot to share from a leadership point of view. I had a lot to share from a business transformation point of view.”
Christophe has helped lead Q Industries into new territory, both functionally and physically, expanding from a trading company to a solution provider. Just as promised when he came on board, he’s helped to navigate and guide the second-generation CEOs, working in tandum together with the sister and brother owners to take the company into the future.
Since Christophe’s arrival, Q Industries has become “very diversified, but always very hospitality centric.” They’ve developed their own kitchen utensil brand, Quantum Pro, and invested in culinary education, consultancy for hotel development, and new technologies in hygiene and sanitation.
More than ever before, their work in safety and hygiene through technology have taken a new priority. One of the most fascinating innovations is using active oxygen as an air surface sterilizer, in much the same way as nature does through cosmic rays, photosynthesis, waterfalls, and waves.
Q Industries has harnessed ozone. It’s as powerful as it sounds. The cutting-edge Cerafusion™ Technology creates active oxygen molecules that have been designed to attach themselves to harmful pollutants and destroy them on a molecular level.
“That’s the most profound manifestation of the power of the technology.”
Cerafusion™ Technology lessens the dependency on harmful chemicals to sterilize the workplace. Instead, “we do not add any chemicals,” notes Megel. “We use the natural environment. So for the air, we have an active oxygen module, which sucks in the ambient air of the environment. And then the technology transforms it into a combination of ozone and active oxygen. When we release the air in the environment, that particular air has the capability of sterilizing the entire environment, if it is surface or the air.” Christophe has the technology installed in his bedroom, living room, even his car – a perk of the job one could say.
The pandemic has brought new attention to how the industry can adopt these innovative technologies. “As human beings, we are so used to do things in a certain way,” says Christophe. “We are so comfortable to do it in this manner. And that’s why adopting technology at times is it’s a bit difficult.”
Now, customers are asking more of restaurants. They’re not just asking for the menu specials, they’re asking about sanitization protocols to make sure they feel secure in the dining room. Megel and the Q Industries team are committed to helping hospitality professionals get the solutions they need to keep customers coming back.
While the starting point to Christophe’s career may have been predictable, he’s carved out a remarkable and exciting professional story. From Michelin-starred kitchens to classrooms to groundbreaking technology, there’s nothing predictable about what’s next for both the industry, and for Megel. Lucky for us, he’s here to help us keep up.
At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy has been cultivating global chefs and F&B professionals in an experiential environment of culinary authenticity, best-fit apprenticeship and innovation since 2001. With an internationally experienced faculty and staff, state of the art facilities and strong industry partnerships, the Academy delivers skills and knowledge in East and West, Old World and New World Cuisines, Herbs and Spices, Innovation and Technology as well as enables the diploma students to spend their last six months in a paid Overseas Industrial Attachment. For more information about At-Sunrice visit www.at-sunrice.edu.sg.
You can also listen to our podcast episode with At-Sunrice founder, Dr. Kwan Lui here to find out how At-Sunrice is forging the future of culinary education and how they stayed ahead of the curve.
You can find more stories and career advice from Christophe Megel in this video series by Growthbeans.
Special thanks to Christophe Megel for joining us as a guest.
World on a Plate is supported by Nestlé Professional, making more possible.