Archive for the ‘Best Emerging Chefs-Asia’ Category



I have often thought to conduct interviews in Japan, but a few times the language was a barrier to entry. This is a real first interview in Japan (Tokyo) with the indispensable help of The Skinny Bib, probably one of the best “food bloggers, reviewers and/or foodies travelers” in the world. And when I say “Food blogger”, I imply: cooking enthusiast, rigorous, intellectually honest and trying to take photos where the image quality is equal to the quality of dishes. So I had the chance to discuss with one of the best young chefs of the moment: Zaiyu Hasegawa (Jimbocho Den).

Chef Hasegawa was born in Tokyo in 1978. His mother was a geisha who entertained customers in a “ryotei” (traditional high-end Japanese restaurant). Zaiyu became interested in Japanese cooking under his mother’s work and influence. After the high school, he started working at a well-known “ryotei” called Uotoku. It is a few years later, at the young age of 29 he opened a small “unconventional” restaurant called DEN, and since Den has received several accolades (Michelin stars, Tabelog Japan etc.). Given the hierarchy in Japanese cuisine, it is rare to see a young chef in their thirties already obtain such praise.

The “cuisine” at Den is a very personal “vision” of “Kaiseki ryori” (Japanese haute cuisine) by the chef Hasegawa. That is to say, playful, creative, inventive, seasonal, close to nature and focused on the pleasure of the customer first. The interview with chef Hasegawa is an example of short answers that imply much, simply read between the lines and watch her “cuisine”…

An “Électron libre” in Tokyo dedicated to creativity, products and customer happiness!


Q+A WITH ZAIYU HASEGAWA (www.jimbochoden.com):

1-(Scoffier) What is the philosophy behind your “cuisine” in general?

ZHasegawa– To make people happy and express myself.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

ZHasegawa– My most favorite taste is my mother’s cooking. Also, when she was
geisha, she sometimes brought home bento (Japanese lunch box). I like both.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

ZHasegawa– I always use dashi (Japanese stock), Japanese tea and kuzu (starch from Japanese root vegetable)

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your career?

ZHasegawa- Everybody that I meet.

5-(Scoffier) What are your source(s) of inspiration to create a recipe?

ZHasegawa– Inspiration comes from my customers, producers and staff, and how to make them all smile.

6-(Scoffier) In everything I have read and seen on you, each dish seems to experience, there is a playful side. This is important for you?

ZHasegawaPlayfulness is a very important thing for me, partly because I only speak Japanese. I want my food to communicate. I always try to talk to customers through my dishes.

7-(Scoffier) Did you change your “kaiseki” menu often?

ZHasegawaMy menu changes all the time according to seasons and availability.

8-(Scoffier) The restaurant is perceived by some Westerner (foodies, journalists) as one of the best in Tokyo now. How is it perceived in Tokyo (by the journalists, foodies etc.)?

According Skinny Bib– “Jimbocho Den is one of the most well-received restaurants in Japan. Currently, apart from its two Michelin stars, it is ranked as third-best restaurant in Tokyo on Japan’s restaurant ranking website Tabelog. Chef Hasegawa’s cooking and hospitality is also creating buzzes overseas, most reputedly in Brazil”.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Den and Zaiyu Hasegawa?

ZHasegawaRecipe:Salad” is my signature dish.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant ?

ZHasegawaI hope everybody will come to my restaurant.


RECIPE: “Salad” By Zaiyu Hasegawa

I use a few cooking techniques for each component that goes into my salad. Some leaves are served fresh and raw; some pickled; deep-fried; braised in stock; roasted; grilled. Each component has different texture and temperature. The ingredients vary according to seasons and come from a special grower. I often dust root vegetables with tea. Sometimes I add fruit. The dressing is made by cutting kombu into small pieces and mixing them with sesame oil.


JIMBOCHO DEN/Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa
1010-0051 2-2-32
Jimbocho, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo (Japan)


1. The Skinny Bib (the best guide), About the Fine-Dining in Japan (Tokyo), February 2013

2. The Japan Times, Review of 2012 by Robbie Swinnerton, Dec. 28 2012

3. Tokyo Food File (Long review + photos), May 2013

4. Spanish Hipster Blog (review), June 2013

© Credits for photos at: #1– Portrait by The Skinny Bib/ #2– “Salad” by Jimbocho Den.

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search.

Barely passed his thirties, the Chef André Chiang in October 2010 opened his own restaurant in Singapore. And why is this restaurant so anticipated by fans and foodies? Just because this young Chef , with strong French roots, has already won several awards and has collected good papers in the media.

After several years doing an apprenticeship with the greatest French chefs of the moment; Gagnaire, Troisgros, Pascal Barbot, Robuchon (L’Atelier) and brothers Pourcel (Le Jardin des Sens), André Chiang decided to accept a new challenge and to lead the kitchen at Restaurant Jaan by André (Swissôtel-The Stamford) in Singapore. It was ranked # 39 on the prestigious list S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2010.

His cuisine is based on a strong French techniques and a great respect for the purity of the products. It is highly creative and these days inspired by the fresh ingredients from Singapore and Asia. Chiang has developed over the years a unique and original philosophy (Octaphilosophy) expressed in eight points: Unique, Texture, Memory, Pure, Terroir, Salt, South, Artisan.

Great expectations for a great chef in a city where gastronomy is changing rapidly and where they will be many discoveries in the coming years!

Q+A WITH ANDRÉ CHIANG (www.restaurantandre.com):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy (Octaphilosophy) behind your cuisine at Restaurant Andre and how do you construct your Menu Octa?

AChiang- Octaphilosophy is a hypothesis I have practiced for several years now, these eight elements are constantly repeated and have regularly resurface in my menus. It is a concept I have applied in many of my creations. The new restaurant has provided me with the avenue to consolidate and share my thoughts in a more succinct manner.

How does Octaphilosophy present for diners when they visit the restaurant? Based on eight primary characteristics: Unique, Texture, Memory, Pure, Terroir, Salt, South and Artisan; diners will be taken on a journey with a repertoire of eight dishes themed after the eight characteristics of Octaphilosophy.

Representative dishes in the menu change through the seasons or according to the inspirations from the fresh produce received each day, while the characteristics of the philosophy remain unchanged.

A Representation of Our Menu this Season:


(A pure flavour without seasoning)


(Salt from the sea)


(Heritage and limited produce from artisans around the globe)


(A play with textures)


(Celebrating the colours and generosity of the South of France)


(A combination of the best and most unique ingredients)


(A fond memory of a timeless dish, in creation since 1998)


(Celebrating the gifts from the land)


2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

AChiang– The dish I have featured as MEMORY (Foie Gras Jelly) is one of my favourite dishes. It is a dish that has evolved through the years with me, and brings back fond memories of my days training and working in France.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

AChiang- love the lemon for it’s acidity and it’s role as a flavour catalyst. The acidity in lemons enhances the flavour of a dish as the sensation intermingles with our taste buds allowing the flavours that precede to be more pronounced.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

AChiang- I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that I have been given in my career and the influence from the 3 generations of Masters of “Nouvelle Cuisine”, not forgetting the myriad selection of products the restaurant receives everyday which are my essential daily dose of inspiration.

5-(Scoffier) Your influences are very French, is there a part of Asia in your cuisine?

AChiang- I arrived in Singapore 3 years ago and I am still exploring ingredients available here. When I create, I try as often as possible to incorporate the freshest produce we are able to procure locally or from the region, capitalising on seasonality, proximity and availability.

6-(Scoffier)- For about 3 years, Singapore is on the map of Gourmet, can you tell us the benefits of working there, and the ease of finding a high quality products? I know that a chef as Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance, Paris) take a lot of time choosing and picking his produces at the market. (Your relation with your suppliers…)

AChiang- The amalgamation of cultures and the vibrant mix of culinary styles does make Singapore’s gourmet scene very fascinating. I am impressed by the standard that this island nation presents and the support its government provides with their myriad programmes to elevate the standard of the culinary offerings here to drive growth in the industry.

With Singapore being a leading business hub, I have not encountered major problems sourcing for produce. We work with a brilliant group of suppliers and farmers in Singapore and globally who support us with very good produce. We also hope to continue introducing fine food purveyors who supply to top restaurants in Europe to Singapore.

7-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from new technology (sous-vide etc.) in your cooking techniques? If yes, which?

AChiang- Charcoal grilling is my latest obsession. In my opinion, the intense unique smokey charcoal grilled flavour is a taste that we are so familiar with but yet forgotten.

It is such an exceptional cooking technique that cannot be replaced with any modern technology.

8-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Andre Chiang?

AChiang-The PURE dish in my Octaphilosophy menu which features all raw elements with no cooking and no seasoning.


9-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

AChiang- With this restaurant, I hope to be able to establish new frontiers in fine-dining with an enhancement of my revolving repertoire of dishes. It is important to realise that dining is more than just exceptional cuisine and service standards. What is more important than to stir emotion in the hearts of the guest and to reveal stories that have never been told before?

Apart from cuisine, the restaurant also reveals the non-culinary side of my art, it showcases my penchant for design and the arts with delicately-crafted artwork in various mediums which are showcased throughout the three-storey space.

My immediate task is to have the restaurant up and running well. I also hope to be able to continue to do what I like, bringing more to the people who have been supporting me.

We are ready to write a cookbook and look forward to continue collaborating with other chefs to pass on the new bio movement and my philosophy.


-Restaurant Andre/Chef André Chiang

41 Bukit Pasoh Road

Singapore 089855



1. Singapore’s Best New Restaurant, CNNgo, December 2010, http://www.cnngo.com/singapore/eat/cnngos-best-eats-awards-2010/singapores-best-new-restaurant-904394

2. Wall Paper Magazine, Graduate Directory 2011, http://www.wallpaper.com/gallery/art/graduate-directory-2011/17052208/38585

3. 10 Restaurants worth a plane ride, NY Times, January 2011, http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/travel/09restaurants.html

4. Chef André’s Interview (video), YourSingapore.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUdY9fEwCLg&feature=related

Tous droits réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2011

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Alvin Leung, BO Innovation


This great Chef, is born in London and raised in Toronto. He now has his own restaurant in Hong Kong called BO Innovation. Leung never went to a culinary institute but did his degree in engineering! That training adds a very interesting specificity to his aesthetics. Over the years, he received his training from the greatest chefs: Adria, Blumenthal and Robuchon. It has been said of him that he is young and iconoclast. He himself has described his dishes as X-Treme Chinese cuisine. Another way of saying it is that Tradition + New Products + Great Technical + Innovation = Alvin Leung! I could go on and on but instead I invite you to see the Q & A and his recipe…

Q+A WITH ALVIN LEUNG (www.boinnovation.com):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

ALeung- I am trying to challenge people’s expectations, to surprise and excite them. My aim is to have people say ‘That was the best meal I’ve ever had’ and I just work backwards from that. In Chinese, Bo means treasure, and we take the treasure, the essence of traditional Chinese cuisine to create dishes that push the boundaries of expectations so that our customers leave having tasted the familiar in ways they could never imagine. At the same time we are trying to bring Chinese food to the world fine dining table.

2-(Scoffier) You have study in environment and engineering, this background bring you a different way to see the foods and cuisine?

ALeung- Yes, my engineering backgrounds have taught me to think logically from composing the dishes and running the kitchen. The environmental part influences my use of renewable food sources.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

ALeung- You should use all ingredients so that your menu isn’t stagnant.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

Being brought up in Canada, I watched a lot of Graham Kerr – the Galloping Gourmet on TV and he, in a way, inspired me to cook. My other inspirations include Alain Ducasse for his brains, Joel Robuchon for his heart, and Ferran Adria for his courage.

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

ALeung- My mother made us instant noodles all the time so I can always recall that from my childhood but it is not a pleasant memory. I still enjoy the taste of real maple syrup from Canada.

6-(Scoffier) What do you eat when you are at home?

ALeung- I like very simple food at home, especially after a very long day in the kitchen – I often just eat rice or congee or whatever my wife cooks for me. The kitchen at home is her forte.

7-(Scoffier) I seen your menu at BO Innovation, do you often change your tasting menu? And what’s the principal difference between the chef menu and tasting menu?

ALeung- I try to change the menus once every month. The tasting menu generally consists of dishes that has been successful in the previous chefs menu and is recommended for people who are dining with us for the first time. The chef’s menu contains more dishes which allow me to be a lot more courageous and also presents all the newest dishes. It is the most popular menu.

Molecular Action/Photo: BO Innovation

8-(Scoffier) You realized a Foie gras lap mei with peas, what’s the technique to cook the foie gras?

ALeung- It is marinated for two (2) days in a Chinese special marinade for dried meats which consists of soya sauce, spices, gingers, rose essence wine.

9-(Scoffier) You have participated at an event around the vegetables in Spain last year (2008). What’s the importance of the vegetables in your cuisine and is there any vegetable from your cuisine that is typical from Hong Kong (Japan or China)?

ALeung- Vegetables are important to the menu, aside from balancing it with important fibres, often vegetables provide a fresh and lighter taste from the meats and fishes. With the ease of trade nowadays, you will often find Chinese vegetables such as bok choy and choy sum in Western countries just as you’ll find artichoke and lettuce in Asian countries so I’d say there are no “typical” vegetables in HK.

10-(Scoffier) I know that the chef Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance) take a lot of time (40 % and more) choosing and picking his products at the market. Do you spend as much of time to choose and pick your produces?

ALeung- No, I depend on my suppliers to provide me with their best products consistently. My menus last only around one month so the products I use need to be consistent for the whole duration. Therefore I cannot afford to be at the market picking ingredients which I can only use for the day. However, I do regularly go to the market for inspiration and to look for new products.

11-(Scoffier) Almost all the young creative chefs from Spain worked or were influenced by Ferran Adria. You work with molecular gastronomy products and you make deconstruction in your cuisine. How you been influenced by Ferran Adria and El Bulli?

ALeung- I was influenced by Ferran Adria when I first visited El Bulli 6 years ago. I was amazed by his ingenuity and creative spirit, which gave me the courage to do what I do today.

12-(Scoffier) Which elements you use from the molecular gastronomy (nitrogen, xanthan, methycellulose etc.) or new technology in your cuisine?

ALeung- I like to use nitrogen because it is natural and aside from changing the temperature and texture of the product, it doesn’t affect the taste.

13-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as a chef or for the restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show?

ALeung- My objective is to introduce Chinese flavours to the whole world. I want to change people’s perceptions of what Chinese food is and what Chinese food could be and I think I am doing that with X-treme Chinese. Regarding a book or a TV show – I would very much like to do both.

RECIPE: Scallop, Sugarsnap Peas, Jolo Sichuan Sauce Woba

Recipes Scallop, A.Leung/Photo: BO Innovation


-4 scallops

-100g Chinese woba

-80g fresh peas

-Sichuan jolo sauce


Sichuan jolo sauce:

-50 gr. jolo (Chinese pickle sauce)

-30 gr. butter

-20 gr. Chinese vinegar

-20 ml Chinese shao hsing hua tiao chiew

-3 gr. chilli powder

-3 gr. paprika powder

1. Make jolo sauce by mixing up all ingredients and emulsify with butter

2. Pan fry scallop

3. Pan fry slightly the fresh peas and add approx 5 tsp jolo sauce, pour mixture over pan fried scallop

4. Decorate with broken up woba


-Bo Innovation Restaurant/Chef Alvin Leung

Shop 13, 2/F, J Residence

60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong


BO London


1. Wall Street Journal/Scene Asiaa, December 19, 2012

2. Video, Anthony Bourdain visit Alvin Leung: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1705232/asia_top10_restaurant_bo_innovation/

Tous droits réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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