Dear Corentin, could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Corentin Delcroix, 34, born in the north of France. I first studied Chinese and business in Bejing University of International Business and Economics. During that period I discovered a strong interest for cooking starting with Chinese cooking. After working a bit in Beijing I decided I wanted to learn cooking professionally and so I went back to France for three years to study French cuisine and restaurant management at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon France. I then helped open and worked for 6 years at the Institut Paul Bocuse School in Shanghai as Deputy Manager and sous chef.
Could you briefly introduce your company?
Jiatable is a startup company aiming to renovate the dining habit of Chinese consumer by providing frozen ready to heat premium dishes through both retail and online platform. Our offer is composed of both Chinese and western dishes that are considered difficult to do at home. Most of our dishes are using the “sous vide” technology (vacuum packed) to provide our consumers with healthy, tasty and additive free meals.
I first entered China through Beijing and was very in love with this city back then, Shanghai was a choice for a work opportunity, my aim was to go back to Beijing, this was 8 years ago and now I cannot think of leaving Shanghai.
On a daily basis it’s a very comfortable city to live in, business wise there is a dynamism that is rarely seen elsewhere.
In your opinion, what France should bring to China?
I believe one of the main added value France can bring to China is the respect and proudness that we have in France for arts and crafts. There is a strong respect in France for people that are talented in working with their hands and we have been good in France at creating brands around those crafts and making it scalable.
What China should bring to France?
It’s pragmatism. I think that is something we are strongly missing in France, we have always been a country of ideas and principles but I believe sometimes we are missing a bit the pragmatism that is making Chinese so efficient, flexible and adaptable.
Would you rather be a key employee of big company of your choice or be founder of a humble company? Why?
At this stage in my life, I would definitely go for the founder of a humble company. I get a lot of satisfaction of working hard for a goal that I helped set, that I fully understand and I know that It would be very frustrating for me not to participate directly to the overall strategy of the company I work in or to sometimes having to do things I don’t believe in.
Would you rather spend a day in private with Jack Ma or receive 1 million renminbi? Why?
I’d still go for the 1 million RMB, with all the respect and admiration I have for Jack Ma, he cannot know everything and everything and I’m sure most of the problems and challenges I am facing on a daily basis would be quite foreign to him.
Would you rather have free Kong Pao chicken anytime for life or deprive yourself of French gastronomy for 1 year? Why?
Not really getting the question, seems obvious to me that it’s better to have free kongpao chicken anytime rather than deprive myself of French gastronomy for one year.
If you were a Chinese province, which one would you be? Why?
I would go for Shandong, I always like this province, I believe landscape wise and speed of life there is closer to what we have in Europe, they are making good wines, lots of beers, great seafood, a simple and straightforward cooking way. People are honest and direct.
If you were a Chinese dish which one would you be? Why?
Jian bing, not complicated ingredients wise but still tasty and fulfilling, easy going, readily accessible and ready to help anytime you’ve got a sudden hunger.
Any advice in 3 words to give to those who would like to try their luck in entrepreneurship in Shanghai?
Go for it.