World Singapore's Restaurant Andre returns Michelin stars

08:10  12 october  2017
08:10  12 october  2017 Source:   CNN

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Shocking news: the two- star restaurant in Bukit Pasoh shuts down next February and chef Andre will return to Taiwan. It won two stars in the inaugural edition of Singapore ’ s Michelin guide in 2016 and retained them in this year’s edition, which was published in June.

We celebrate the recognition of our Singapore food heroes once again as the Michelin Guide returns for a star studded evening on 29 June 2017 to Restaurant ANDRÉ opened its doors in Singapore 7 years ago, and we are immensely grateful to have been receiving such prestigious awards.

© Evelyn Chen "When Restaurant Andre closes, I want to spend more time exploring my Taiwanese roots and understanding Taiwanese produce," says chef Andre Chiang.

On October 11, Singapore foodies woke up to one of the darkest culinary announcements the vibrant dining city has witnessed in recent times.

Andre Chiang, chef-patron of Restaurant Andre, Singapore's highest ranked restaurant on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2017 list at number two -- second only to Gaggan (Bangkok) -- is returning his restaurant's two stars to the Michelin Guide.

"I wish to kindly return my Michelin stars and also request not to be included in the 2018 edition of the Michelin Guide," says Chiang in a letter to the press, in which he announced his decision to "prioritize" his "professional life".

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1 St Andrew ’ s Road #01-04 Singapore 178957 Tel: +65 6385 0498. 5 Restaurant André . From Michelin - starred hawker food to Mod-Sin (Modern Singaporean ) dishes, the creations from these Singaporean chefs will tantalize your taste buds.

Experience Norway’ s groundbreaking three Michelin - starred restaurant – Maaemo – at Restaurant ANDRE . We celebrate the recognition of our Singapore food heroes once again as the Michelin Guide returns for a star studded evening on 29 June 2017 to announce the second edition of the

Chiang sent this email at 3:44 a.m., just hours after he celebrated his restaurant's seventh anniversary.

As if that alone was not enough, the feted chef also announced that February 14, 2018, would be the last day of service at Restaurant Andre.

Chiang's surprise move sent shockwaves through the world of gastronomy.

Culinary world shocked

"When Andre told me about his intentions, I was in shock," says Massimo Bottura, chef-owner of Osteria Francescana (number two on World's 50 Best Restaurants 2017).

"In his house, I had one of the best meals in recent years, it is a sad day for the gastronomic world but we love him and support him."

Over in Bangkok, Gaggan Anand of Gaggan (No. 1 on Asia's 50 Best 2017) expressed disappointment.

"Honestly, I want him to stay, it's a big loss to the culinary scene in Singapore," he says.

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"Yes, it' s a big deal for Singapore ," agrees Andre Chiang, the Taiwan-born, French-trained chef-owner of two Michelin - starred Restaurant Andre . Indeed, a handful of restaurants by Singaporean chefs promoting contemporary local cuisine -- including Wild Rocket, which debuted on the Asia' s 50 Best

Michelin Starred Restaurant André . July 27, 2016 by Singapore Foodie. 12 courses. It seems appropriate to write about André now that his restaurant has finally received its coveted two Michelin stars .

Chiang, famed for creating the eight-spoked Octaphilosophy-guided menu at Restaurant Andre, trained in France with chefs like Pierre Gagnaire and Joel Robuchon.

"I'm a perfectionist and for the past 30 years of my career, I've been looking for that unrealistic moment of perfection; three Michelin stars, World's 50 Best Restaurants," says Chiang, whose restaurant at Bukit Pasoh garnered two stars in Michelin's inaugural Singapore edition last year and again this year.

"Until now, I realized at this moment that it is as perfect as it is now," says the 41-year-old Taiwan native.

Chiang says everything -- from his team and the starched table linens to the height of the candle glow at every table -- is as immaculate as he has hoped for.

Beneath this picture of perfection, however, the industry has been abuzz with chatter about Chiang's disappointment at not clinching the third Michelin star that he's been widely tipped to earn this year.

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Restaurant ANDRE . welcomed its first guest on 10 October 2010. An intimate three-storey shop house in Bukit Pasoh road offering 30 seats, Recent Accomplishments: Michelin Guide Singapore 2016 – Two Stars S . Pellegrino ‘World’ s 50 Best Restaurants ’ 2016 - Restaurant ANDRE #32 S

World's 50 Best Restaurants Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Singapore ' s Best Restaurant Chef Andre Chiang Octophilosophy Fine Dining Dinner Tasting Menu Michelin Guide Singapore Two Michelin Stars Michelin - Starred Restaurants Restaurant Review Luxury Travel Gastronomy Foodie Modern

But the chef disputes it.

"My decision to close Restaurant Andre is not related to any awards," says Chiang, who owns one of the most extensive collections of the Michelin Guide France (from 1960 to the most recent edition) in Singapore.

"I do not have to prove anything to anyone."

"Exploring my Taiwanese roots"

In his letter to media announcing his decision to close, Chiang says he will focus on education, developing others and cooking at his RAW (Taipei) restaurant after his retirement from Restaurant Andre.

He also respectfully requested that RAW not be included in Michelin's future guide for Taipei.

"It is my duty to pass on everything I have to the next generation in Taiwan and China," he says in the address. "It is an urgent priority for me to provide young chefs with a better education and culinary culture."

When prodded about how he could contribute to the next generation of chefs in China and Taiwan, Chiang was tight-lipped about an upcoming project.

"In recent years, I have been spending a lot of time on restaurant management," says a distinctly relaxed and happier Chiang during our meeting at his shop house 12 hours after his announcement.

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Although the world-renowned travel guide Michelin has not provided us a rating for restaurants , they did rate different chefs across Singapore . The owner of Restaurant André has worked in Michelin - starred restaurants , and knows the science of gastronomy.

Here are the Singapore restaurants and hawkers that gained a Michelin star in 2016. André Chiang bases his menu on his eight elements of 'octaphilosophy’: salt, texture, memory, pure, terroir, south, artisan and unique.

His business portfolio now includes ownership interests in restaurants including Burnt Ends and Bincho in Singapore, Raw in Taipei and Porte 12 in Paris.

"When Restaurant Andre closes, I want to spend more time exploring my Taiwanese roots and understanding Taiwanese produce," he says. "The 16 to 18 hours a day I put in at Restaurant Andre restricts the time available for these."

"There are also many things I want to do apart from cooking," adds the chef, who has been dabbling in visual arts.

Unbeknownst to most people, Chiang is also a sculptor and a potter and he has been quietly working on launching a range of copper, wood and ceramic objects designed for chefs with applications ranging from decoration to vessels.

Having spent most of his working life in France and Singapore, Chiang is also looking forward to spending more time with his aging parents, who are based in Taipei.

Redevelopment

Fears that Chiang is making a clean break from his adopted hometown of Singapore are unfounded, given he's a permanent resident and will retain his business interests and apartment in the Lion City.

"The current three-story shop house Restaurant Andre occupies will be redeveloped and rebranded into a more relaxed F&B concept," Chiang tells CNN, emphasizing that while he would be a stakeholder in the new eatery, it would not be branded after him.

"Although Restaurant Andre's legacy will soon become a fond memory to the world's gourmets, I have no regrets," says Chiang with a warm smile as he sends us off at his wood-decked entrance.

Evelyn Chen is a food and travel writer and the regional academy chair for World's 50 Best Restaurants and Asia's 50 Best. In between dinners and writing assignments, the former Zagat editor blogs about food at bibikgourmand.

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