Chef Andre Chiang, whose eponymously named restaurant has held the title of Singapore's best restaurant and is consistently ranked among the top restaurants in Asia, has asked Michelin to take back his two stars and announced plans to close next year.
It was a surprising one-two punch announcement issued just after Chiang celebrated the restaurant's seventh anniversary this week, and one that continues to reverberate in Singapore's dynamic fine dining community.
In a two-page letter to his fans and followers, Chiang explained that he wants to retire at the peak of Restaurant Andre, which holds two Michelin stars and is currently ranked No. 2 on the Asia's 50 Best list just behind Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok.
"I wish to kindly return my Michelin stars and also request to not be included in the 2018 edition of the Michelin Guide Singapore," reads an excerpt, typed in bold font.
"Following Michelin Guide's expansion in Asia, I understand that Michelin will soon launch new editions in Bangkok and Taiwan (where my other restaurant RAW is located in Taipei). As my hope is that RAW will be the pure place where I can focus on educating, developing others, and cooking after my retirement from Restaurant ANDRE, I also request that RAW not be included in the Michelin Guide Taiwan (or Taipei)."
Chiang is the latest chef to "give back" his Michelin stars and request omission in the next guide.
Last month, French chef Sebastian Bras made international headlines for asking Michelin to strip him of his three-starred status, citing the enormous pressure of having to meet the rigorous standards every day.
A few weeks later, owners of the Boath House in Nairn, Scotland likewise walked away from their Michelin star by announcing plans to turn the restaurant into a casual dining destination.
It appears that Singapore's loss will be Taiwan's gain as the Taiwanese chef also revealed plans to return to his birthplace like a prodigal son.
"After thirty years of a professional culinary career, returning to where I was born forty years ago has always been my dream, passing on everything I have to the next generation in Taiwan and China is my duty, and providing young chefs a better education and culinary culture is an urgent priority for me."
The menu at Restaurant Andre is inspired by Southern French nouvelle cuisine and explores texture, terroir and food memories.
Like Ferran Adria and Rene Redzepi before him, who shocked the food world when they decided to shutter their restaurants (elBulli in Cala Montjoi, Noma in Copenhagen) at the peak of their success, Chiang said there's nothing left to do at the restaurant, which has attained the summit of perfection.
"...we have achieved everything we wanted to achieve."
The last service at Restaurant Andre will be Feb. 14, 2018.
Chiang was short on details, but also noted he's working on new projects for 2018 and 2019. — AFP Relaxnews
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