Morsels' Bryan Chia named Rising Chef of the Year at World Gourmet Summit Awards

Morsels, a sharing plates restaurant in Mayo Street off Jalan Besar has come under the spotlight.

One of its chef-owners, Bryan Chia, 32, was named the Meat & Livestock Australia Rising Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Series Awards of Excellence today.

The ceremony at One Farrer Hotel & Spa was attended by about 650 guests, including local and regional industry professionals.

Now in its 15th instalment, the awards honour the best in the food and beverage, and hospitality arenas here and across Asia. The summit runs till May 3. It is organised by A La Carte Productions, a division of food consultancy Peter Knipp Holdings.

Chef Chia started Morsels with his partner, Petrina Loh, also 32. She was also nominated for the award.

Opened in January 2013, the restaurant serves California fusion cuisine, which reflects a blend of the couple's culinary training in the United States, their Singapore roots and love for Japanese cuisine.

Some of the signature dishes at the 48-seat restaurant include grilled octopus and squid ink risotto served with salted egg sauce, and steamed clams in a fig-based broth, accompanied by kimchi and pickled wakame.

Chia graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in the Napa Valley, California, in 2012, after majoring in tourism and hospitality management from the University of Hawaii. He has also worked in Saint Pierre in Singapore, restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was a private chef in the French Alps.

He says: "It is a team win. This is for the restaurant. This has taught me to persevere despite the hardships of being a small restaurant and being off the beaten path. It is about the food and the team behind it. I hope this will bring more people to the restaurant."

Chef Loh adds: "This shows that our persistence in sticking to our food ethos - respecting the ingredients and making things from scratch - and not conforming to serving popular food like truffle fries, has paid off."

The KitchenAid Chef of the Year award went to Chef Ivan Brehm of two-year-old modern European restaurant, Bacchanalia, in Coleman Street.

The 31-year-old executive head chef, who is of German-Brazilian parentage, has worked in renowned restaurants such as The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal's restaurant in Bray, England; and Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York. He graduated from the CIA in New York.

Bacchanalia was also a big winner - it took home two other awards: Indoguna Restaurant of the Year and EuroCave Old World Wine List of the Year. It won the SanPellegrino New Restaurant of the Year award last year.

Brehm, who headed back to the restaurant for dinner service after the awards ceremony, says: "It feels great to be recognised. This win validates my two-year career in Singapore and it feels like I am on the right track.

"Over the past year, the restaurant has become more polished and the team has communicated better."

Mr Peter Knipp says: "It was a tough fight for Chef of the Year. For me, Ryan Clift from The Tippling Club is definitely out there. Ivan has great talent. He is an unsung hero who spends more time in the kitchen, and he is a real team player with a positive influence on his team members."

At the ceremony, 27 accolades were handed out. Pastry chef Janice Wong of 2am:Dessert Bar was named the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia Pastry Chef of the Year, an award she also won in 2013.

Winners of the World Gourmet Series Awards of Excellence were selected by a panel of about 20 industry experts, journalists and connoisseurs, after a round of voting by the public and industry professionals which took place earlier this year.

The World Gourmet Series Awards of Excellence is held as part of the World Gourmet Summit, a month-long epicurean festival of dining events, culinary masterclasses and workshops.

kengohsz@sph.com.sg

THE WINNERS

Indoguna Restaurant of the Year: Bacchanalia

SanPellegrino New Restaurant of the Year: Hashida Sushi Singapore

KitchenAid Chef of the Year: Ivan Brehm, Bacchanalia

Meat & Livestock Australia Rising Chef of the Year: Bryan Chia, Morsels

Deliciae Bar of the Year: Anti:dote

Manitowoc Restaurateur of the Year (Regional): Chris Salans, Mozaic, Bali

Wines of Portugal Sommelier of the Year: Mohamad Fazil, Salt Grill & Sky Bar By Luke Mangan

Marrone Culinary Institution of the Year: Culinary Institute of America