Andre Chiang on closing his two-Michelin-starred restaurant: Time to move on and pursue other passions

Chef-owner Andre Chiang of Restaurant Andre says he wants to discover his roots and that there is more to him than just being a good chef. His 30-seat restaurant in Bukit Pasoh will close on Feb 14, 2018.

He has done all that he wants to do and it is time to move on to his other passions, said chef Andre Chiang, who rocked the food world here yesterday when he announced that he would close two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Andre on Feb 14 next year.

Speaking to The Straits Times, the Taiwan-born chef said: "I just felt it was the perfect time. I have done everything I wanted to do. There will be no Restaurant Andre elsewhere."

He said that he told his team of his decision after Tuesday night's dinner service.

The restaurant will be charging $800 a person for lunch and dinner until it closes. The Farewell Octaphilosophy menu will comprise 25 to 30 courses showcasing new creations and signature dishes. The meals include alcohol and non-alcohol pairings.

One of his priorities after he closes his restaurant here is to research the produce from Taiwan, and showcase it at his restaurant Raw in Taipei.

"I want to spend time researching my culture. Raw will be the platform for showing the best of what Taiwan can offer," he said.


Chef-owner Andre Chiang of two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Andre announced on Oct 11 that he will be closing his restaurant in 2018. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

He will also work on design projects, and continue with the pottery and sculpture work he has had to squeeze in amid 16-hour days at his restaurant in Bukit Pasoh.

PERFECT TIMING

I just felt it was the perfect time. I have done everything I wanted to do. There will be no Restaurant Andre elsewhere.

CHEF ANDRE CHIANG

While he will be returning to Taiwan, the Singapore permanent resident will continue to work on projects here and abroad. He will spend time at Burnt Ends, MeatSmith and Bincho, restaurants here in which he has invested, and also at Porte 12, his bistronomy restaurant in Paris.

He will also curate the concept for the restaurant that will take the place of Restaurant Andre.

Even before he opened the restaurant, the chef knew the trajectory of his career. In an interview with The Straits Times in 2010, he said: "I will retire, maybe at 45, and help more young people become chefs. I will keep the restaurant and cook family food. You don't know what you are going to get and you won't know who you will sit with. You will come in and I will cook. Then I am happy already."

It was an extraordinary thing for a chef, who blew into Singapore like a breath of fresh air in 2008 to head the kitchen at Jaan at Swissotel The Stamford, to say. And that was just two months before he opened his luxe restaurant, which has since earned two Michelin stars in the Singapore edition of the guide.

At the time, he was the talk of the town among those who love to eat.

He had honed his skills in the toughest Michelin-starred restaurants in France, including those of Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire, Michel Troisgros, Alain Ducasse and Pascal Barbot, and thrilled diners here with beautifully plated, carefully thought-out food that managed to be refined without being fussy.

At 41, he is doing what he said he would, but four years ahead of schedule.

Asked why he is not staying on to garner a third star - Michelin's highest accolade - for his restaurant, he said: "Why? Do you think it is going to change anything? No, I don't think so. Will it make a better success story? Maybe. But do I have to have a movie ending that everybody wants to see?

"I know I can do more than just cook. I don't feel that I have lost some-thing. I know I have gained more."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2017, with the headline 'Time to move on and pursue other passions, says Chiang'. Print Edition | Subscribe