The Perfect Journey
Epicure Magazine|April - May 2021
Not one to be afraid of change, culinary prodigy turned perfectionist chef André Chiang’s definition of success lies not in the number of stars and accolades he earns. Rather, for him, the measure of success lies in how his legacy of Sichuan cuisine is carried forward
Priyanka Elhence

André Chiang. A name that needs no introduction anywhere in the world. Born in Taiwan, 44-year-old Chiang first fell in love with cooking as a result of his mother’s influence and started his career when he moved to the south of France at the young age of 15. 15 years later, he returned to Asia as a mighty culinary force and visionary to be reckoned with, a man who refused to be defined even by his own success.

Chiang honed his culinary skills with work experience amassed under the greatest masters of French Nouvelle cuisine such as Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, the late Joël Robuchon, Michel Troisgros, Pascal Barbot, and Jacques & Laurent Pourcel. Despite starting at the lowest rung, Chiang quickly rose up the kitchen ranks, proof of his skill and tenacity. Case in point, Chiang was invited to apprentice as a commis at Pourcel’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, France just three years later when he turned 18 years old. It was there that he created ‘Memory’ - a whipped foie custard topped with a coulis of wild mushrooms and Perigord black truffles – which eventually became a mainstay on all his degustation menus at Restaurant André, while other elements of his menus changed on a seasonal basis.

Chiang’s restaurants constantly graced Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, with his eponymous two-Michelin-starred Restaurant André at #2, Burnt Ends Singapore at #10, and RAW Taipei at #24 and Best Restaurant in Taiwan, in 2017. And with good reason too. For instance, when he opened Raw in Taipei in 2014, Chiang sparked a new wave of mod contemporary dining in Taiwan as he designed seasonal degustation menus that heroed local ingredients inspired by Taiwanese classics but presented through modern creations. Who else could recreate street food snacks such as tea-braised eggs into molten-centered quail eggs cooked in an earl greybay leaf concoction. Mad? Perhaps. Successful? Without a doubt. Unsurprisingly, Chiang’s determined approach to RAW also saw the restaurant earn two Michelin stars.

But in a shocking move, Chiang shuttered his 30-seater Restaurant André for good in 2018 shortly after he announced to Singapore (and the world) that he was returning his Michelin stars and was returning home to Taiwan after 30 years.

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