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Posts tagged ‘Gordon Ramsay’

Star Chefs on the Rise in Hong Kong

PG in Central (mid res)

Pierre Gagniere in Central, Hong Kong

 

[UPDATE: Chef Pierre Gagnaire’s will visit his Hong Kong restaurant from October 24th to 30th 2019 to Hong Kong to launch his autumn tasting menu. The five-course menu will be available for lunch and dinner from 24 to 30 October 2018 at HKD1,998 per person.]

Hong Kong is set for another influx of Western celebrity chefs as Yannick Alleno’s long awaited bistro, Terroir Parisien, is slated to open in Central this summer, Bjorn Frantzen has opened Frantzen’s Kitchen and Jean-Georges Vongerichten has returned to the city with Mercato. David Thompson and Wolfgang Puck are also thought to be searching for sites here. But Asian expansion doesn’t mean guaranteed success: Mario Batali’s Carnenvino has closed in Hong Kong, Gordon Ramsay shut his restaurant in Tokyo and both Guy Savoy and Jason Atherton shipped out of Singapore. So what makes some international restaurants thrive in foreign markets while others falter?

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Jason Atherton in Asia

Jason Atherton and his wife Irha

Jason Atherton and his wife Irha

As  Jason Atherton announces a new restaurant opening in the Philippines (his wife’s homeland) and steps away from his restaurants in Singapore and Hong Kong, Chopstix looks back to meeting the chef and restaurateur in his early days in Asia:

Jason Atherton has been clocking up the air miles between the UK and Asia in just this last week alone. The former Gordon Ramsay protégé and head chef at Maze in London, now with his own Michelin starred restaurant Pollen Street Social, has made three round trips in seven days.

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Taste of Hong Kong

Following success in London and 21 other cities, the Taste festival is coming to Hong Kong. If you don’t like to queue at no reservation restaurants, can’t get in to a hard to book venue or simply don’t have the cash for a blow out meal then this is great news.

A selection of the city’s top restaurants including Amber, Tin Lung Heen, Aberdeen Street Social, Arcane, Yardbird, Duddell’s, Serge et le Phoque and Tosca will present small plate signature dishes for the event in March.

 

 

These include Hokkaido scallops, sati jelly and avocado from Aberdeen Street Social (above left), Ebisu oyster with seaweed and shallots from Amber (below right), meatballs with egg yolk from Yardbird (above right), Barbecue Pork from Tin Lung Heen, Tiramisu with limoncello from Tosca (bottom left) and Dacquoise almond biscuit with vanilla cream at Serge et le Phoque (bottom right).

 

Expect to see star chefs including Richard Ekkebus from Amber, Shane Osborn of Arcane, Pino Lavarra from Tosca and Matt Abergel from Yardbird at the event. As well as an internationally acclaimed toque, chosen by the Hong Kong chefs, to be announced. Who will it be? Gordon Ramsay? Jamie Oliver? Nuno Mendez? The ubiquitous Ferran Adria? Watch this space.

Taste of Hong Kong will take place March 10th -13th. Tickets are on sale now.

http://www.hongkong.tastefestivals.com/

Star crazy in Singapore as Michelin comes to town

The Michelin Guide Singapore will launch in 2016

The Michelin Guide Singapore will launch on July 21st 2016

Gastro tourists may want to book flights to Singapore from mid July 2016. A Singapore edition of the hallowed restaurant guide, Michelin, will be published on July 21st and announced at a ceremony open to the public for the first time.

The revered little red book began life in France in 1900 as a hotel and restaurant guide for motorists – hence the link with a tyre company. A century later, chefs vie for one, two or – the pinnacle – three Michelin stars and foodies flock to the restaurants that have them.

Originally focused on Europe, there are now 25 guides across the world including New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guides

Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guides

A Michelin star, or three, all but guarantees an increase in customers for restaurants. “There are tourists who plan their entire vacations around where they are going to eat and I think we play a strong role in that,” says Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guides. He adds that Michelin is often solicited by governments to launch in their cities, a sure sign of how important the guide is perceived in driving tourism.

“We think it will put Singapore’s restaurants on a worldwide platform and help draw more visitors,” confirms Melissa Ow, deputy chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board. So the country can expect a flurry of foodie tourists and elite business travellers as well as curious locals.

“In a place like this, with so much visibility to restaurants and such a hungry community of foodies it will have an impact,” says Ivan Brehm, head chef at top Singapore restaurant, Bacchanalia and an alumnus of the three Michelin starred Fat Duck in the UK.

A dish at Bacchanalia, Singapore

A dish at Bacchanalia, Singapore

Chef Ivan Brehm at Bacchanalia Singapore

Chef Ivan Brehm at Bacchanalia Singapore

“I also think a Michelin Guide will help level things out. A lot of restaurants in Singapore survive for factors other than their food and to have someone objective evaluating things like consistency, taste, creativity, outside of an establishment’s marketing efforts and wagyu usage seems refreshing,” says Brehm.

Hopefully that will discourage the gimmicky themes and over reliance on super premium ingredients in the city-state.

With its heritage in classic French cooking, Michelin has been criticized by the foodie community in Hong Kong for not understanding the local cuisine (among other things previously written about by Chopstix). In Singapore it faces a diverse mix of Chinese, Malaysian, Peranakan (a mix of Chinese and Malay) and Indonesian food as well as restaurants by internationally famous chefs including the much Michelin starred Joel Robuchon who has two restaurants at RW Sentosa, a partner of the Michelin Guide Singapore.

A dish at Joel Robuchon Singapore

A dish at Joel Robuchon Singapore

“It’s the same in Tokyo as well as Hong Kong,” says restaurateur Loh Lik Peng, the backer behind acclaimed chefs Dave Pynt, Jason Atherton (a Gordon Ramsay protogee) and Andre Chiang’s restaurants in Singapore. “I’m not really sure what the reviewers from France will make of our local restaurants and sze char [‘cook and fry’] street food.” [UPDATE: Jason Atherton has since parted ways with Loh Lik Peng restaurants in Singapore]

In the latest Hong Kong guide, Michelin has included a section on street food. With hawker stalls being so prevalent in the Lion City they may well do the same for Singapore.

“We don’t try to second guess our inspectors but with the hawker food scene being so vibrant here I would be surprised if it didn’t feature strongly in the guide,” says Ellis who admits to being a fan of local signature dish, Chilli Crab.

Street food experts though question how hawker fare can be assessed by international inspectors. And fine dining chef Brehm says: “Michelin should, in my opinion, stay clear from the coffee shop and hawker stall culture. These run deep in the make up of Singaporean society and any unnecessary polemic could undermine the guide’s overall relevance.”

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Are you sure this is a good idea? – Michelin will launch a Singapore guide in 2016

Previously, its been mooted, the Michelin Guide has not launched in Singapore because the market was not big enough. Peng believes it’s still a relatively small pool: “I think [the Michelin inspectors] will need to ensure the right quality to maintain credibility so the top end restaurants able to command three stars might be a small number.”

 

 

Another star signing for Singapore with Pollen

Jason Atherton’s Pollen restaurant at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

[UPDATE: Jason Atherton parted ways with Pollen in early 2016. Chef Steve Allen joins the restaurant this month, in November 2016]

This is the first time, as far as I can remember, that I’ve left a restaurant in a golf buggy. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s go back to the beginning of the evening.

A restaurant named Pollen located within a Flower Dome sounds like a match made in heaven. This is the new Singapore outpost of Jason Atherton, former head chef of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze and chef/owner of the Michelin starred Pollen Street Social in London.

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