Asian chefs look to Asia's 50 Best Restaurant awards as avenue for global recognition

When Yoshihiro Narisawa, chef-owner of top-ranking restaurant Les Creations de Narisawa in Tokyo went on stage to receive top honours being number one on the inaugural Asia's 50 Best Restaurant list, he received applause from the 550-strong crowd and a standing ovation from his fellow chefs.

Not surprising, considering that two hours before the award ceremony started at the Sands Grand Ballroom at Marina Bay Sands, many chefs were looking out for chef Narisawa and hoping to get a photo with him.

Humbled by his achievement, he said in Japanese via an interpreter: "I am surprised, but nothing changes in the restaurant. We continue to do our best for customers.

"This doesn't happen in one day; Japanese dining has continued to grow over the years and our strong dining culture has led to this day."

Ranking No. 2 on the list is Nihonryori RyuGin, also in Tokyo.

Its chef-owner Seiji Yamamoto, said in Japanese: "A lot of people have been coming to Japan and I'm constantly trying to evolve, to make Japanese cuisine a shared identity all around the world."

Chef Andre Chiang, whose Restaurant Andre ranked No. 5 on the list, also received the award for Best Restaurant in Singapore.

He says: "It's very emotional to see so many of my chef friends here tonight. But tomorrow it's back to work.

"Regardless of which Asian restaurants made it to the list, it shows that we are all moving in the right direction."