Nicolas Le Toumelin, General ManagerClassic Fine Foods & Classic Coffee and Beverage

When it comes to food and drinks, consumers are more engaged than ever. Information are rampantly at our fingertips.  Food and drinks now, are cultural products to be discovered. There is some sort of a shift happening worldwide. Consumers of today revel in the fact that they are part of the food preparation, not like our counterparts not so long ago. 

I had the chance to speak with Nicolas Le Toumelin, the General Manager of Classic Fine Foods & Classic Coffee & Beverage for his insights.

So lovely to have you on Fab! Luxe, Nico.

You are the General Manager of Classic Fine Foods, a company that brings in premium food from all over the world. Tell us all we need to know about Classic. 

Classic Fine foods is a distributor of fine foods product that are imported from around the world since 2000 here in Malaysia. We supply most of the 4 and 5 stars hotels  as well as restaurants, café and Supermarkets.

I am curious, how has premium food spending evolved through the years?

Chefs, like consumers are now more cautious of the origin of the food they want, they are more demanding on the traceability and the quality, they are willing to spend more for the good product, we have seen over the last few years that people will consume less quantity of food  but will spend more each time they are buying it because they want to make sure it is premium. 

I’m sure this question has been asked over and over; how are things looking this year amidst the global pandemic, Nicolas? 

2020 has been a very challenging year around the world, Malaysia has also been through some difficult time, the good thing is that we are starting to see a positive return within the F&B industry, it will still take some time to get back to where we were before the crisis but it is looking good so far. 

What has been the hardest setback? 

Our stock position has been very challenging as soon as the MCO took place, we had to be very reactive in order to make sure we wouldn’t waste any of the product we had, so we very quickly made special offers to our customers that remain open as well as opening up to the B2C Market by developing an online website called Classic Deli where everyone can  order.

Are people still willing to spend on premium food items in 2020?

Definitely, we can see a significant increase of orders of premium products such as truffle, caviar, seafood and high quality meat.

Having been in the industry for as long has you have, what did you learn about the changing nature of the premium food market here in Asia? 

Asia and especially Malaysia has an amazing food culture, you can notice that over the last few years, there are some amazing new hotels and restaurants that have open around the country, there is so many talented chefs who are looking for the best products. We also notice consumers are more interested to discover cuisines from all over the world. 

Where do you see the fine food industry going – say in the next 5 years, Nicolas? 

Local supply will play a big part in the future of the food industry; we see that the demand for Malaysian Vegetables, seafood and other food product is growing. People are more cautious of the origin of the product they consume. Healthy eating will also be bigger.

You are also the General Manager for Classic Coffee and Beverage. Tell us about that.

Classic Coffee and Beverage is a company that imports and distribute premium beverage such coffee, tea syrups and many other products. We also supply premium coffee machines and other equipment, besides having a great team of talented barista that are constantly assisting our customers with training. Classic Coffee is a great asset for us as it allows us to offer great beverage as well as great food from Classic Fine Foods.

I heard from reliable sources you have worked with celebrities and royalties all around the world. Walk us through how you got started and be where you are right this very moment, Nicolas. 

I have spent 25 years of my life working as a chef in the luxury hospitality business, having worked in many cities such has London, Dubai, St Tropez and now, Kuala Lumpur, I had the great opportunities to serve many head of states, royalties actors, singers and other celebrities which makes the job more fun. Looking back at it today, it was always hard work – long hours and lots of pressure but it was worth every minute of it.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are pretty much around the corner. Where can our readers go, for the latest selection at Classic? 

Yes we are very much looking forward for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. We will propose many premium products – oysters, caviar, king crab, lobster and many other seafood as well as premium Wagyu, black angus and grass fed beef. Some exclusive selection of French cheeses as well as pastries and chocolate will be available for every customers that is looking for a great treat to share with friends and family during this festive time. Go to https://classicdeli.market/my/ and start shopping!