Asia’s top chefs: What do they eat?
Asia's best chefs have recently been named, in the inaugural S.Pelligrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants awards, held in Singapore last week.
Here, three of the winners explain how their culinary tastes impact their dishes, and ultimately our orders.
Yoshihiro Narisawa, chef/owner, Narisawa (1st Place), Tokyo
Chef and owner of Narisawa, Yoshihiro Narisawa offers haute cuisine that incorporates foods from the coast, mountains and garden.
Steamed Japanese white rice and tomato-based pasta are high on his culinary love list.
“We get our rice from an organic rice producer,” says Narisawa, whose modernist approach has earned him the top spot on the 2013 San Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best list. He placed 27th in last year's World's Best list.
“This rice is farmed for subsistence but the farmer offers it to us.
“I also enjoy pasta prepared with tokutani tomate, a tomato with high sugar content from Kochi Prefecture,” says Narisawa. “I like dishes where I can taste the sheer [flavor] of the ingredients.”
“I never eat nor cook food produced against the law of nature,” he says. “This includes processed food with chemical substances and genetically modified vegetables -- they destroy the future of all life on earth.”
Les Creations de Narisawa, 2-6-15 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku; +81 (3) 5785 0799; narisawa-yoshihiro.com
More on CNN: The World's 50 Best Restaurants
Andre Chiang, chef/owner, Restaurant Andre (5th Place), Singapore
Chef Andre Chiang is obsessed with pork.
“Pork and pork and pork, it can never go wrong,” says Chiang, whose eponymous restaurant in Singapore hit fifth place in the Asia's best list and was ranked 68th on the 2012 San Pellegrino World 100 Best list -- barely two years after its debut.
“At this relatively unknown restaurant called D-Jen in Taipei -- my birthplace -- a 72-year-old self-taught chef cooks a white pork knuckle in Yunnan ham jus and cured Iberico pork with nary a sprinkle of seasoning nor added ingredient,” says Chiang, Taiwan-born and now specializing in French cuisine.
When Chiang is back in his adopted home of Singapore, he prefers food prepared by his Thai wife.
“I don’t cook that much at home,” says Chiang, “My wife’s clear broth pho with chicken, spicy Thai vermicelli and pork ball, done ‘floating market style’ is comfort food for me.”
But Chiang hates capsicums.
“I don’t eat nor use capsicums in my cooking because I don’t know how to make them taste better,” says Chiang, who is known for being a perfectionist.
“I want to make sure that everything I put on the plate is perfectly prepared, with total control and understanding,” says Chiang. “If not, I'd rather not use it.”
Restaurant Andre, 41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore; +65 6534 8880; http://restaurantandre.com
More on CNN: Singapore dining: Best of the old and new
Paul Pairet, chef/owner, Mr & Mrs Bund (7th Place) and Ultraviolet (8th Place), Shanghai
“Pork and charcuterie might be my all time favorites,” says Paul Pairet, former chef de cuisine of Jade on 37 and who was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Asia's 50 best. “Iberico, Bayonne ham, peasant ham, you name it.”
The Frenchman has also made a name for himself with modernist creations like "Shrimp in the Jar."
“And the roast pork belly from Crystal Jade Xintiandi, it 's a three Michelin-starred dish in itself with succulent fat meat and a lovely crisp skin,” he says.
“The roast pork foot with French fries and béarnaise sauce in Paris’ Au Pied de Cochon is also to die-for.
“Of course, we have also created a similar dish at Mr & Mrs Bund -- a perfect contrast of crunchy and mellow texture with a fabulous béarnaise sauce."
Ask what he loathes and he only has this to say: “Never say never, though I would never do any harm to dogs.”
Mr & Mrs Bund, Bund 18, 6/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Dong Lu, Shanghai; +86 21 6323 9898; http://mmbund.com
More on CNN: The 24-hour Shanghai travel guide