Features 6 minutes 27 December 2022

2022 Year In Review: Top Chefs in Asia On Their 2022 Highlights And Hopes for 2023

Oh, what a year — nay, what an era — it’s been. As Asia finally turns a corner in the three-year-long pandemic, MICHELIN Star restaurant chefs around the region to get their reflections on the year just past and their wishes for the one ahead.

Pichaya “Pam” Soontornyanakij
Chef, Potong

What were the highlights of 2022 for you?
We were able to move towards using 100 per cent local ingredients starting from March this year. We have also focused on sourcing our seafood from small groups of local fishermen down in the south of Thailand and in turn supporting their local communities.

What are your hopes and wishes for 2023?
We all have been through three years of truly hard work for COVID-19 and what a difficult it was. I definitely hope that this is the end of the era of such global-scale catastrophes, and I definitely wish for good health for everyone so that we can now focus on cooking really good food for our guests.

What will you be working on in 2023?
We will be officially launching our new menu in 2023 after soft-launching it on 15 December 2022. For this menu, we have worked with new local farmers to introduce exciting new ingredients from the Thai-Chinese community to our guests’ dining table. We have also upgraded our service team capabilities and integrated new wine selections, particularly from boutique and artisan producers, from 20 countries. We will also renovate some sections of the restaurant to create an even better experience for our guests, such as the Black Jade room in our Opium Bar, which will have a “liquid surreality” theme.


฿฿฿฿ · Innovative
One MICHELIN Star: High quality cooking, worth a stop!
422 Vanich Road, Bangkok

Su Kim Hock
Chef Patron, Restaurant Au Jardin

What were the highlights of 2022 for you?
Definitely receiving a one-star recognition from the MICHELIN Guide. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect to see MICHELIN coverage extend to our part of the world — and to find ourselves featured in it is a testament of what we have been striving for the past few years! With the Guide in Malaysia now, more and more restaurants will work harder for culinary excellence.

What are your hopes and wishes for 2023?
Everyone foresees a slump in business in the food and beverage industry, especially for the top-tiered restaurants, due to the ongoing recession. We are hoping for all our industry peers to be able to hang on and persevere through the hardship during this period and remain hopeful. As much as possible, we will help our peers whenever it is needed, mentally or physically, even if it’s something as small as cross-referring diners or sharing food sources to keep our inventory small. That is what we are currently doing among chefs in Penang.

What will you be working on in 2023?

We will gradually be working on building two new facilities to support our restaurants. Firstly, we’ll be adding a library and development studio to help us fuel our creativity in designing menus around the seasonal produce that we source from our suppliers and farmers.

The second one is a small-scale farm that we can use to help some local farmers and ourselves. We are already in talks with a couple of farmers that were affected by the pandemic, and with this farm, we can ensure that some wastage from the restaurant can be channeled back to the farm as compost to aid in the growth of fruits and vegetables for the restaurant.

Au Jardin

$$$ · European Contemporary
One MICHELIN Star: High quality cooking, worth a stop!
The Warehouse@Hin Bus Depot, 125 Jalan Timah, George Town

Wu Zhi-Wei
Chef, Shin Yeh Taiwanese Signature

What were the highlights of 2022 for you?
It was a certainly a significant milestone for Shin Yeh Taiwanese Signature to be awarded by MICHELIN with a one-star distinction this year. It recognized the team’s efforts in delivering their cuisine and service, and this honor continues to drive the team to improve themselves and do better every day.

What are your hopes and wishes for 2023?
I hope there will be new generations of talents joining the restaurant industry to bring more energy, innovation and progress. I also hope that people can further appreciate and value the breadth and depth of Taiwanese cuisine, and recognise that the heritage and culture embedded in the cuisine can be further passed down to future generations to become even more delicate and soul-stirring.

What will you be working on in 2023?
Besides continuing our internal training programme on professional cooking techniques, we plan to bring our team to visit starred restaurants and on field trips to farms or fish ports to learn more about local ingredients that demonstrate the diversity of Taiwan’s terroir, and to procure them in a manner that decreases the carbon emissions along the way. We will also be creating a tea-pairing experience at the restaurant. Taiwan is home to a lot of nice tea that showcases the artisanal touch and delicacy of Taiwanese flavours.

One MICHELIN Star: High quality cooking, worth a stop!
Marriott Midtown, 199 Lequn 2nd Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei

Tristin Farmer
Executive Chef, Zén

What were the highlights of 2022 for you?
2022 was the year that life started to become normal. Being able to dine with friends, family, peers, and colleagues again was a true highlight! A favourite among these experiences would be my restaurant road trip from Barcelona to San Sebastian.

Being invited to attend and cook for the MICHELIN Star Revelation Gala Dinner in Singapore in July 2022 was another highlight. Being recognised with three MICHELIN Stars in 2021 was a life-changing moment, a truly amazing and emotional day, but as the ceremony was virtual, it missed some human interaction. Cooking at this year’s gala dinner was a true celebration, with all our hospitality friends in Singapore in attendance. It was a very special evening.

What are your hopes and wishes for 2023?
I hope to pass my positive energy and best wishes for 2023 to all my colleagues and friends out there. We have been through some challenging times recently, with many more worldwide headlines affecting us and our livelihoods. Stay positive, do your best, and take each challenge in your stride.

What will you be working on in 2023?
We have some exciting things coming for next year.


$$$$ · European Contemporary
Three MICHELIN Stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey!
41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore

Mingoo Kang
Chef-Owner, Mingles and Hansik Goo
Seoul and Hong Kong

What were the highlights of 2022 for you?
As a chef, the highlight of my year was receiving one MICHELIN star for Hansik Goo, my restaurant in Hong Kong that we opened in the middle of the pandemic. Of course, I was also happy that Mingles maintained 2 stars in the Michelin Guide Seoul 2023.

Personally, it was a year when I realised once again the love of family. I've traveled on a lot of business trips, but this year, for the first time, my whole family went on an overseas trip together. It was such a special time that it would not be an exaggeration to say that it was the happiest time of my life.

What are your hopes and wishes for 2023?
Korean food is becoming more popular overseas. Korean restaurants all over the United States received Michelin stars this year. At the same time, not many fine dining restaurants in Korea that properly serve Korean food have opened, so I hope more young chefs in Korea believe in the potential of Korean food. We must take the lead so that Korean food can establish itself as a genre. Next year, I hope Korean restaurants will shine in more countries, not just in the United States.

What will you be working on in 2023?
In 2023, I plan to have a year just focusing on Mingles. For us, last year was a year of challenges and new projects. Mingles is entering its 10th year next year. I hope this will be the year to redefine Mingles once again and find our own colour. I look forward to seeing the new manifestation of Mingles at the end of next year.


₩₩₩₩ · Contemporary
Two MICHELIN Stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour!
2F, 19 Dosan-daero 67-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Vicky Lau
Chef, Tate
Hong Kong

What were the highlights of 2022 for you?
While 2022 was a challenging year, it was also the year of tremendous growth. It was therefore a fitting year for TATE Dining Room’s 10 Year Anniversary event, where we celebrated a decade of achievements with our invaluable guests who have supported us since day one.

Another highlight for us was the opening of Mora, a Chinese-French dining concept inspired by soy, which is an ingredient that is key to Asian culinary traditions. I wanted to deep-dive into the versatility of soy, an ingredient bursting with unexplored potential in fine dining. Much of the year was spent exploring innovative solutions to the ever-changing rules and regulations, and that required us to really re-connect with local resources through our farmers, suppliers and producers.

What are your hopes and wishes for 2023?
I hope that there will be more awareness about the difficulties of staying afloat in an industry like F&B. Things that may seem like minor inconveniences to guests such as last-minute cancellations and no-shows, can actually deal a large blow to small restaurant businesses. I also hope that more talents will choose to join or re-join the kitchen force, as many have left or switched careers as a result of the pandemic. My hope is that COVID-19 doesn’t bury their dreams.

What will you be working on in 2023?
Every year, we strive to evolve our craft and discover new local ingredients to create with. It is the biggest joy to transform a common, everyday ingredient into a dish worthy of its own course in the menu. By doing this, we also hope to lower the amount of waste produced in the kitchen with creative efforts such as repurposing food scraps. I will also continue on my quest to explore more and more new ways to manipulate soy and tofu into beautiful dishes and pastries.


$$$$ · Innovative
Two MICHELIN Stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour!
210 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong

Hajime Yoneda

What were the highlights of 2022 for you?
2022 was a year that was a turning point in the pandemic and the start of post-pandemic life. Personally, it was also a milestone year as I turned 50. This year, I proactively reached out to communicate with many people to drive my life forwards.

What are your hopes and wishes for 2023?
In 2023, we will continue to question the relationship between the restaurant industry and society. The key point is "diversity of happiness." In Japan, a country with such a well-developed infrastructure, good public order, and cleanliness, I feel that there are few people who look happy.

I think the standard for measuring happiness should be more diverse than just measuring a country’s GDP. Our food industry is directly linked to happiness. Industries that support culture, including the restaurant industry, are labour-intensive industries. How can we incorporate these irrational, labour-intensive industries into society? I think this discussion will lead to more social inclusion where everyone can be happy.

What will you be working on in 2023?
The 10 years of counting down till the age of 60 will start. I would like to take on challenges that will culminate in bringing Hajime to new heights.


¥¥¥¥ · Innovative
Three MICHELIN Stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey!
1-9-11 Edobori, Nishi-ku, Osaka

Xu Jingye
Chef, 102 House

What were the highlights of 2022 for you?
The best moment for me in 2022 was of course getting two Michelin stars. I was so surprised but so happy to have received this accolade.

What are your hopes and wishes for 2023?

I hope that by 2023, COVID-19 will really be over and restaurants will be able to accommodate more domestic and international guests. I am also hoping to have more opportunities to exchange and collaborate with fellow chefs in other countries in the near future.

What will you be working on in 2023?

In the coming new year, my restaurant and I will not forget why we started as we maintain the unique character of the restaurant. Innovation is about learning, and only by continuous learning can we ensure constant progress, so next year our biggest plan is to stay curious and keep learning.

102 House

¥¥¥¥ · Cantonese
Two MICHELIN Stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour!
5F, The House of Roosevelt, Bund 27, 27 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai

Interviews coordinated by Mikka Wee in Singapore, Ming Ling Hsieh in Taipei, Pruepat Songtieng in Bangkok, Wakana Kubo in Tokyo, Nayoung Kim in Seoul, Gloria Chung in Hong Kong and Debbie Yong for Shanghai.


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