A dish at Narisawa – Asia’s inaugural Best Restaurant
With the fifth incarnation of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants being held on February 21st, Chopstix looks back at the launch of the list in 2013:
On Monday evening [February 25th 2013] the best restaurant in Asia will be announced. Whatever your viewpoint on awards and rankings, the winner is certain to be thrust to international fame and a year of being officially referred to as “Asia’s best restaurant” across the media. At least, such is the precedent of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, the creators of which are behind this launch.
Back in 2002, journalists at the UK industry magazine, Restaurant, came up with the idea of running The World’s 50 Best Restaurants as a feature which they knew would ruffle a few feathers and create publicity in the process. They couldn’t have predicted quite how huge their creation would become though.
[UPDATE: Hong Kong has clocked up a second Asia’s Best Female Chef award with May Chow (pictured above), chef and owner of Little Bao in Hong Kong and Bangkok (home to the award’s inaugural winner, ‘Bo’ Songvisava of Bo.lan), being named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017. Chow, who opened Little Bao as a pop up in Hong Kong in 2013 and has staged at Bo.lan says: “I hope I can serve as a role model for other Asian female chefs, providing hope and opportunities for those who want to pursue their passions.”]
The Michelin Star winners in Singapore
Before the inaugural Michelin Guide Singapore was launched on July 21st I was sure of two things: that at least one hawker stall would gain a star and that Joel Robuchon would be awarded three. The former because I could see the headlines about “the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurant” pinging around the world (and so could Michelin, I’ll wager) and the latter because Robuchon tends to collect three Michelin stars around the globe as naturally as breathing.
And so, as you’ve probably heard, Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle became the proud recipients of a Michelin star apiece while Joel Robuchon clocked up another three stars for his fine dining establishment in Singapore (read on for the full list). All announced, in a world first for Michelin, to much fanfare: a songstress in glitter crooning When You Wish Upon a Star and dancers in chefs uniforms waving giant forks and spoons. Even the three star reveal had some drama: director Michael Ellis teased us at first that not every location was worthy of three Michelin stars before announcing he did indeed have a red envelope and that it was not empty.
Cheryl Koh and Sebastien Lepinoy at Les Amis, Singapore
[UPDATE: Les Amis was awarded two Michelin stars in the inaugural Singapore guide on July 21st 2016].
With Les Amis in Singapore listed as Asia’s 12th Best Restaurant last night and Cheryl Koh announced as Asia’s Best Pastry Chef 2016, here’s a look at the restaurant’s heritage:
Fans of French fine dining restaurant Cepage in Hong Kong will still be able to enjoy the cooking of head chef Sebastien Lepinoy and pastry chef Cheryl Koh even though the Michelin starred restaurant is now closed. They’ll just have to visit Singapore.
The culinary pair have been lured to the Lion City to head up Cepage’s sister establishment Les Amis. Both restaurants share the same enticing formula of sophisticated food and slick service mixed with an unstuffy atmosphere; a recipe that has made Les Amis as popular with food writers in the region as it is with regular customers.