Page 25 - Foodservice magazine may 2019
P. 25

In Australia, we tend to keep an eye on fine-dining trends in Europe and the US and ignore what’s happening in our
closest economic region. Not just with our own Asian-based Aussie chefs such as David Thompson in Hong Kong, and Tetsuya Wakuda, Dave Pynt and Jake Kellie in Singapore, but across the board. Could it
be we’re missing the inexorable rise of some of the world’s greatest cuisines right under our noses?
Take Andre Chiang, for instance; a restless, perfectionist artist, sculptor, chef and former catwalk model; who Massimo Bottura called “the Bruce Lee of the culinary world”. Whether diners are pulling a single strand of long-life noodle from a porcelain teapot at his new Sichuan Moon in Macau, nibbling crunchy masala chicken skin with cauliflower, couscous and Indian spices at RAW in Taipei (ranked 30th at this year’s Asia’s 50 Best), or dipping into a dessert of shaved ice and fresh berries at the Bridge,
his Sichuan-inspired restaurant in Chengdu, China; they are intrigued by his playful mix of old and new, and East and West.
This mix of cultures isn’t forced; it’s
just who he is. Born in Taiwan, he grew up working in his mother’s Chinese restaurant in Tokyo; apprenticing himself to the acclaimed Pourcel brothers’ restaurant
Le Jardin des Sens in France at the age of
15. Nine years later, during which time he worked as a catwalk model to supplement his income, he was head chef of the three
Michelin star restaurant. The Pourcels, followed by acclaimed chefs Joel Robuchon and Pierre Gagnaire, instilled in him the need to create his own voice; to know why he was doing what he was doing.
By 2008, the time had come for his own restaurant, the groundbreaking Jaan in Singapore (ranked 32nd at Asia’s 50 Best), followed by the small and sophisticated 30-seater Restaurant Andre, opened with his strikingly talented wife and partner Pamela,
in 2010. A keen ceramicist and sculptor, he
also designed all the restaurant’s dishes and artworks. His meticulous, edgy, French- Mediterranean cooking (think warm foie gras jelly with black truffle coulis) soon received one, then two Michelin stars. Then came the shock announcement he was closing Restaurant Andre. “An artist finishes a beautiful artwork, signs it and moves on” he says. “I know I can do another beautiful artwork in my life.”
Now, he says, his mission is to go back
to his roots, understanding the DNA of Chinese food, and taking it out into a world that has been obsessed with Western food for the past 30 years. Hence the sheer scale and ambition of his Sichuan-influenced, 26-course degustation (for $390 a head) at Sichuan Moon in Macau’s Wynn Palace. “The only way to truly understand the history and culture of a destination is through its food”, he says. “Chinese cuisine is not something static and stuck in yesteryear. I want to help it evolve into something new and unique.”
Clockwise from opposite page:
Chef Andre Chiang. Sichuan Moon in Macau. King crab leg at Sichuan Moon. Peppercorn-flavoured duck foie gras with mushrooms at Sichuan Moon.

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