Natsuko Shoji is only 33 years old. She started training as a pastry chef at Michelin-starred Le Jeu de l’Assiette in Daikanyama before working at the two-Michelin-starred Florilège for three years when she became its sous chef and decided to start her own business in 2014. Her mango cakes were an instant success and soon she opened her private table restaurant, initially catering up to four people before expanding to cater six by the end of 2019. I first met her in Hong Kong when I tasted her mango cake. She has mentioned in the press that many of her creative inspirations come from art and fashion brands, and she has indeed developed her own brand, or is at least a trendsetter, in the culinary scene.
Entering the ninth year in Taipei since he traveled from Tokyo back in early 2014, Chef Ryohei Hieda is among the first of the new-generation Japanese chefs living in Taiwan. As one of the foreign chefs to have unearthed some of the best ingredients that even locals didn’t know about, Ryohei Hieda has pioneered a brand new perspective where he believes that the quality and variety of vegetables in Taiwan are well suited to Japanese cuisine. Before opening Shoun RyuGin, Ryohei Hieda and Seiji Yamamoto, founder of Tokyo RyuGin travelled around the island in search of the best regional produce, hoping to deliver similarly creative cuisine leveraging the richness and diversity of local ingredients.
Some people can walk into a room and instantly put everyone at ease, and Chef Tam is one of them. He is widely acclaimed for his solid cooking techniques as well as for his gentle, friendly personality. It is no exaggeration to say that he is the iconic figure of Macau’s culinary scene.
Located at Wynn Palace Macau, Sichuan Moon, with Chef André Chiang as its Culinary Director, has reimagined Sichuan cuisine by fusing local and international ingredients to create a range of home-style and classic dishes.
Danny Yip, Owner of The Chairman in Hong Kong which earned the No.1 spot in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021, and Xu Jingye, Head Chef of 102 House which was awarded Essence of Asia this year, are like skillful kung-fu masters, with their ‘swords and shields’, marching proudly and shining brightly in the martial arts world of gastronomy. While they are each climbing to the mountain top, for me they are more like companions on the road to success.