Best Asian Restaurants Awards back to inspire

Receiving Best Asian Restaurants Awards last year were (from left) Shinji by Kanesaka's master chef Koichiro Oshino; Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group's founder Alfred Leung's son Kenny, and younger brother Vincent (collecting the award on his behal
Receiving Best Asian Restaurants Awards last year were (from left) Shinji by Kanesaka's master chef Koichiro Oshino; Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group's founder Alfred Leung's son Kenny, and younger brother Vincent (collecting the award on his behalf); and VLV's head chef Martin Foo.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

The second edition of the annual awards will feature some surprises as it continues to shine a light on excellence in Asian gastronomy

The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao Best Asian Restaurants Awards - which celebrates culinary excellence in Asian gastronomy - is returning with a second edition.

The awards will be given out on April 16 at an invitation-only gala reception at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.

Like last year, the winners are ranked in Gold, Silver and Bronze categories. There will also be four personality awards, up from two last year.

The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao will announce the Bronze winners on March 28 and the personality awards on April 4. But Silver and Gold winners will be unveiled only at the gala event on April 16.

All recipients will receive their awards at the April 16 ceremony.

Contenders for the restaurant awards are judged on the quality of food and service. A panel of six judges dined incognito at the restaurants to determine the winners.

The judging panel are The Straits Times' Life editor Tan Hsueh Yun, deputy Life editor Wong Ah Yoke and food correspondent Eunice Quek, as well as Lianhe Zaobao food correspondents Marcus Yeo, Ng Chin Chin and Ng Yimin.

The two new personality awards this year are for Manager of the Year and a Special Recognition award. These are on top of the Chef of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards that were given out last year to Chinese restaurant VLV's head chef Martin Foo and Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group founder Alfred Leung respectively.

The annual awards is part of the epicurean extravaganza Asian Masters, which features wine dinners, chef collaboration meals and culinary workshops from Saturday to April 17. The year-long festival will continue with dining and cocktail promotions in the coming months.

Asian Masters is organised by Sphere Exhibits, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, and food and beverage consultancy Poulose Associates.

On this year's award recipients, Ms Tan says there will be "some surprises".

She says: "Some places have not kept up with standards, while others have tried harder and thought outside the box. That is why drawing up the list each year is exciting for us. We see who are resting on their laurels and who really wants to level up.

"Keep a lookout for the personality awards. So often in Asian restaurants, the chefs and other staff are in the background. That is changing, of course, as it should. But we hope to shine a light on people diners often take for granted, to recognise the skill and hard work it takes to do these jobs."

Lianhe Zaobao's Mr Yeo adds: "The food and beverage industry in Singapore is competitive and many Asian and Chinese chefs continue to push creative boundaries and raise culinary standards.

"By recognising the quality and effort, we hope the awards can inspire and take the industry to greater heights."

• Follow Eunice Quek on Twitter @STEuniceQ

• For more information, go to www.asianmasters.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2018, with the headline 'Best Asian Restaurants Awards back to inspire'. Print Edition | Subscribe