Chef Andre Chiang’s Full Letter: Why He’s Closing His Restaurant & Returning His Michelin Stars

 

“I’m a perfectionist, and this is perfect.” – Andre Chiang

One of the most celebrated chefs in Asia, André Chiang 江振誠, is shaking up the Michelin world.

The Taiwanese chef who created and led the prestigious Restaurant André in Singapore will shut its doors on February 14, 2018. In addition to closing the number 2 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017, Chiang also wishes to return his Michelin stars. 

In a letter personally penned by the chef, Chiang addresses that he has a bigger goal: to foster a younger generation of chefs particularly in China and his home country Taiwan. Let’s not overlook his stunning announcement was also released on Taiwan’s national holiday, October 10th.

Chiang was born in Taiwan, but grew up mostly in Japan where he fell in love with cooking from his mother. After moving to France, where he lived for 15 years, he worked at the three Michelin-star restaurant Le Jardin des Sens. Later, he also worked in the kitchens of La Maison Troisgros, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire.

It was working at Seychelles’ Maia Luxury Resort where he defined his own style: Octo-philosophy. A way to cook dishes derived by 8 elements: pure, salt, artisan, south, texture, unique, memory and terroir. The authentic concept stems from purity, so that dishes are presented without seasoning and can shine while integrating with one another.

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Dear all, my phone, email and social media burst as you probably expected… here are some things to take note: 1. Please don't book through me 😆 there's Restaurant ANDRE website to book, simply drop a request (don't call) 2. Don't book 14th Feb (cuz other dates we are open too… 😑) 3. Please don't call me during lunch & dinner service (I'm still working…😅) 4. Media issue please contact info@andre-chiang.com 🙏 5. Please read the announcement carefully before asking me questions 😜 (because most of the answer is in there) and I wrote it… 6. Please don't be sad, because I'm happy that I could phisically do more than before; I'm still around and Andre is still cooking, I simply realised I have bigger responsibility to leverage chef's social status and environment for Asia I love you all

A post shared by Andre Chiang (@andrechiang_sg) on

His self-titled restaurant in Singapore was opened in 2010. An esteemed temple for foodies and rising chefs, the 30-table gastronomical sanctuary garnered him not just one but multiple Michelin stars year after year. Today, his other restaurant in Taipei, RAW, is the hardest table to book in the city.

We cannot wait to see see what Chiang has in store for the culinary world, below is his full letter explaining the motivations behind his remarkable decision. If this isn’t patriotism, we don’t know what is.

October 10, 2017

To my Dear friends and Beloved guests,

“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 Top 50 restaurant… until now I realized, at this moment- It is perfect as it is”

Since day one of Restaurant ANDRE I told myself I want to let all my diners have a hand-written card by me when they celebrate their special moment with us; until today, Restaurant ANDRE would only open for operation when I myself am cooking; I will greet every table, every single guest, make sure we have 30 happy guests every service; my wife will decorate the restaurant everyday personally- flower arrangement, room scent and even down to every single toiletry…

We moves around the tables of the entire restaurant from 1st to 3rd floor every single service, change the configuration to fit perfectly the room and the agenda of each guest; we are still doing it. We decide to change the menu spontaneously whenever we want, not a single overlap dish from lunch to dinner on the same day; we are still doing it. We determined to make Singapore proud, make Asia proud, to be one of the best restaurants in the world; we did it, and are still doing it!

We never doubted ourselves, although everything we try to achieve, no one has ever done it before, but that doesn’t matter, because we know we are unique and we are striving for our “perfection”.

I have a quote on the cover of my biography, it says: “The moment I perfect a dish, is the moment I let go from my menu”

I started to cook since I was 13, and this month will be the 30th year of my professional culinary journey. I want to go back to where I started, I want to go back to cooking, have a balanced life and cook happily.

I always ask this of my brigade, “Why you want to be a chef?” The happiness of cooking a beautiful, tasty dish, not for the fame, not for having a thousand Likes, but through the process of being a true professional, makes us a better person; now I’m so proud to see that each one of Restaurant ANDRE’s team being Honest- Passionate- Creative- Flexible- and Positive individuals.

WE HAVE BUILT SOMETHING UNBEATABLE AND UNBELIEVABLE HERE.

I am writing to officially inform you that I, Andre Chiang, on behalf of Restaurant ANDRE in Singapore, am preparing for a significant transformation by February 2018; specifically, I have decided to re-prioritize my professional life from early next year, and as such, I wish to kindly return my Michelin stars and also request to not be included in the 2018 edition of the Michelin Guide Singapore. 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).

You might ask, why now? Because this is the best moment of my life, I walked into the restaurant, into the kitchen, I see everyone, everything in order, polished, flawless, I have never seen any restaurant like this! Every one of them is everything I hoped for, this is the perfect team that I will not see anywhere else again, and we have achieved everything we want to achieve.

Andre and his brigade will serve their last service at Restaurant ANDRE on the 14th of February 2018; after this, there will be a few projects in 2018 and 2019, of which we wish to share with you more in the near future.

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. Although Restaurant ANDRE’s legacy will soon become a fond memory to the world’s gourmets, I have no regrets, as we have achieved all that we have wanted to for Singapore and for Asia.

Now, it is time for me to go home.

“I’m a perfectionist, and this is perfect.”

Andre Chiang

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