How Ultraviolet's Chef Paul Pairet Ended Up In Shanghai

"We eat more myths than calories." A visit to Ultraviolet's website will intrigue viewers with cryptic witticisms such as this. Or — "The psycho taste is everything about the taste but the taste." "Psycho taste" is a concept world-famous chef Paul Pairet describes as "the expectation and the memory, the before and after, the mind over the palate," via Port Magazine, and this sensory component to the dining experience has provided much of the chef's inspiration behind the concept for his experimental Shanghai-based restaurant, Ultraviolet. 

Ultraviolet serves only 10 people at a time, and its physical location is undisclosed, reports kitchen gear purveyor Miele. Guests are picked up by a chauffeur and driven to the restaurant to preserve its secrecy. But the journey is well worth the wait. Meals in Ultraviolet's unique dining room are 20 courses long, per Miele.

Too avant-garde for your taste? Don't knock it till you try it. Ultraviolet maintained its three Michelin star status for 2022. The restaurant was also ranked at number 35 in The World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2021 and has consistently held the number one spot in the OAD Asia Top Restaurants list for four years in a row. So, how did this world-renowned off-the-cuff French chef end up in Shanghai in the first place?

Shaking things up in Shanghai

After undergoing extensive training in France, French-born Ultraviolet chef Paul Pairet first gained major attention in 1998 during his time at Cafe Mosaic in Paris, according to his biography. Patrons were wowed by the chef's unconventional pairings and experimental approach to traditional French cuisine.

Wanting to expand his horizons, Pairet traveled to food hubs around the world before eventually landing in Shangri-La in 2005, where he opened Jade on 36 — which is now also featured in the Michelin guide. As a hotel restaurant, Jade on 36 exposed Pairet's work to a variety of international audiences, gaining the chef global acclaim and catapulting the restaurant far beyond the confines of a hotel dining service. Just three years later, Jade on 36 had itself become a travel destination for avant-garde foodies around the world. By the time Pairet opened Ultraviolet in 2012, fans were already hungry for more.

Despite his international acclaim and global travels, Pairet professes that his love for Shanghai hasn't dulled over the years. "My support is here. My team is here. So Shanghai it is," Pairet says, via The Art of Plating. "Otherwise, I can say that I stay in Shanghai because of its energy. You can hear it in the air." Ultraviolets, rejoice. It looks like this non-conformist chef isn't going anywhere anytime soon.