12 years ago, Danny Yip opted for a quiet street away from the bustling Soho, Kau U Fong, to open his Cantonese restaurant, The Chairman. The unassuming location is a fitting backdrop for the equally low-profile chef-restaurateur Yip, who had spent more than a decade opening a series of restaurants in Canberra, Australia before coming back to Hong Kong in 1997.
At that time, he vowed that he would never open another restaurant again. “I told my business partner I’m done with restaurants. I need to earn some real money.” He took a few years to start an internet company, but it didn’t take long before he found himself back in the restaurant business with The Chairman. His reason for being back in business: he couldn’t find a Cantonese restaurant that he liked to eat at. What started as a seemingly selfish idea became the foundation of The Chairman’s concept-driven, ingredient-oriented approach to a cuisine that has over two thousand years of history.
“Traditionally, Chinese recipes are passed down from chef to chef, generation to generation,” Yip muses. “It is good in a way that we get to understand the origin of the tastes, but it also comes with the cost of lacking creativity. That’s why you see the same dishes in Cantonese restaurants.”
By doing away with established recipes, The Chairman is able to focus on original concepts and local ingredients, including bean curd sheets from Shu Kee, 20-year aged lemon from Tai Ma, seafood handpicked daily from the Aberdeen seafood market, and organic produce from the restaurant’s own small farm in Sheung Shui.
While raising the bar for Cantonese cuisine, Yip is also a passionate gourmet who is constantly on the lookout for new restaurants to visit. In Hong Kong, a world-class culinary destination where he calls home, Yip shares his favourite MICHELIN restaurants for every occasion.
Any new restaurant opening that you are particularly excited about? Whey in Central, they do modern European cuisine with Singaporean influence. I’ve been there twice already, the taste is great.
When I have friends visiting Hong Kong, I will definitely take them to Chinese cuisine, of course. You can always find surprises at Xi Rong Ji, the flavour is authentic and the quality is consistent.
For special occasions, I often celebrate at Caprice, for the grandeur of its interior and the exquisite food.
For a romantic date night, I like Tate’s ambience and dishes are beautifully feminine, creating the perfect atmosphere for romance.
Whenever I feel like having a simple meal, the satisfaction from eating comfort food like Brass Spoon’s beef pho is quite hard to beat.
I had one of my most memorable meals at Burnt Ends in Singapore. Barbecue is the most primitive way of cooking—it’s in our DNA. So it’s only natural that I like Burnt Ends’ creative dishes.
(Picture from left to right: chef Andy Ho, Danny Yip, chef Kwok Keung Tung)
A restaurant that I keep returning to is Neighborhood. Chef David Lai is a genius, his dishes are limitless, casual, and ever-changing.
When we can travel again, the first restaurant that I would like to go back to is Den in Tokyo. It’s a fun restaurant and has a homey feeling to it.
Seventh Son is my family’s go-to place for traditional handmade dim sum.