Gregory Louraichi's French restaurant in Xiamen, Fujian province. [Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Gregory Louraichi, who runs a French restaurant in Xiamen, Fujian province, really loves the atmosphere of rejoicing during the Spring Festival holiday.
"It is the same as Christmas in France, a time to enjoy family gatherings and visit friends," he said.
The French chef regards the southeastern port city as his second hometown.
Xiamen is much like his hometown of Bordeaux. More important, it is home to his beloved enterprise — Greg's Restaurant, Xiamen — as well as to his two French-Chinese sons and his wife, Long Guanyun, who accompanied him as he started his own business.
Louraichi came to China in 2003.
"China has changed so much. I feel happy that I have witnessed its development over the years. The achievements in the high-tech and internet sectors have really amazed me," he said.
Gregory Louraichi runs a French restaurant in Xiamen, Fujian province. [Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
He worked as a chef in several hotels and restaurants in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and other cities before making up his mind to set up his own restaurant in Xiamen in 2011.
In the past decade, Greg's Restaurant, Xiamen has gained popularity and a high reputation.
In 2015, Louraichi was selected as one of 1,300 chefs serving a French-style dinner on all five continents.
Louraichi is also a lover of Chinese food, especially Cantonese cuisine. In recent years, he has made some innovative dishes, combining the best of France and China.
As more Chinese customers seek exquisite visual effects while enjoying the cuisine, he is helping a number of Chinese restaurants develop creative dishes.
"I want to show that when we make Chinese food, we can also add elements of French food, Japanese food or Italian food," he said, "Chinese people care a lot about taste, but I also want to bring some visual variety to them."
His business has been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Earth has been sick for a long time. I hope it will get better soon. Let's get our lives back to normal," he said.
Louraichi praised the local government for providing effective prevention and control measures in Xiamen.
Residents and the local government have given a lot of support to foreigners who have set up businesses in Xiamen during the epidemic, he added.