Taiwanese chef asks to be stripped of two Michelin stars

Andre Chiang will close his two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Singapore in order to return to Taiwan and foster the next-generation talent in gastronomy.

Andre Chiang

Andre Chiang (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwanese chef Andre Chiang (江振誠), who is currently running a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Singapore, announced on October 11 that he had decided to close his restaurant next year, return the stars to the Michelin, and come back to Taiwan in order to foster the next-generation talent in gastronomy.

The announcement that Restaurant ANDRE will close on February 14, 2018 came as a shock to the industry, reported the Straits Times, adding that Chiang’s restaurant is among the seven two-Michelin-starred restaurants in Singapore and the first one to return the stars to the diner's bible.

“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,” said Chiang in an open letter.

Chiang said he had determined to close his Singapore restaurant and come back to Taiwan, for “returning to where I was born forty years ago has always been my dream.”

The chef also said he would focus on his Taipei restaurant, RAW, in the future as his main venue to pass on his experience, and provide a better education as well as culinary culture to the next generation, which he considered his “duty” and “urgent priority” after 30 years of the professional career in cooking.

Chiang hence asked for the Michelin not to include RAW in its soon-to-launch Taiwanese version, saying “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.”

RAW is a restaurant run by Chiang and two other chefs, Zor Chen and Alain Huang. The restaurant takes reservations only and is said to be always fully booked several months in advance.

Earlier in an interview with CNN, Chiang had expressed a sentiment similar to his latest statement, “Being a Taiwanese, I feel that I have a responsibility to have something in Taiwan that really redefines our generation of Taiwanese flavor.”

“Taiwan’s cuisine has always been underestimated,” the chef told CNN.

In a long and emotional open letter, Chiang not only recounted the eight years of running Restaurant ANDRE, but also expressed his determination to move on.

“Now, it is time for me to go home. I’m a perfectionist, and this is perfect,” said Chiang at the end of the letter.

Andre Chiang was born in Taiwan in 1976. He moved to France in order to learn French cuisine. Later he worked his way up at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Jardin des Sens, in France and became the head chef in 2001.