Features 4 minutes 18 December 2021

What do MICHELIN-Starred Chefs Feast on During the Holidays?

Seven MICHELIN-Starred chefs in Singapore share what they'll be doing this holiday season, along with their must-have holidays eats.

Christmas Holiday Michelin Star

For most MICHELIN-Starred restaurant chefs, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year (apart from Valentine's Day, perhaps!). And as everyone is getting their feasting pants ready for the slew of celebratory gatherings with family and friends, several chefs in Singapore share their holiday traditions and what they're doing as 2021 comes to a close.
Chef Sebastien Profile Picture (2).JPG

Sebastien Lepinoy
Les Amis
3 MICHELIN Stars, MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2021

Must-have Dishes on the Holiday Table: Log Cake, Foie Gras Terrine, Smoked Salmon, and Oysters

"Christmas is one of the most important holidays of the year for me, as this is when I spend the most time with my family. My wife and I have busy schedules that follow us year-round. Therefore, we prioritise Christmas by unplugging ourselves from our work life and going on a family trip," Lepinoy shares. "As my daughter is still very young, we tend to spend our holidays traveling within Southeast Asia. These Christmas holiday trips bring a sense of adventure and contribute largely to my daughter's learning experience for local culture."

Unfortunately, the Lepinoy family will not be traveling this year. Lepinoy shares that despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, family is the most important reason for the season. So this year, they will have a family Christmas Eve dinner, followed by the opening of presents on the cosy morning of Christmas Day.

"Since I was a child, my family has always celebrated Christmas with an extravaganza of dishes prepared days in advance. I have continued this tradition with my family, and I wish for my future generations to celebrate Christmas the same way," says Lepinoy.


Tristin Farmer
3 MICHELIN Stars, MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2021

Must-have Dishes on the Holiday Table: Steak with Chips and Béarnaise sauce, a bottle of Pinot Noir, and Cheese

"Growing up, my favourite Christmas tradition was opening my advent calendar from Mum every year, and having a stocking with my name on it. After leaving home many years ago, I joke with Mum that I am never too old for advent calendars!" he laughs.

This year, Farmer will be spending the holidays with the team at Zén, having a Christmas meal together, and taking a longer break. "I will be cooking for all the staff, along with a lot of help from our sous chef team!" he says. "Our newest tradition at Zén is that we do Secret Santa. It's super fun. We have a few drinks after our last service of the week and open gifts. It gets very secretive at this time, and everyone acts like school kids trying to guess what their presents are."

Farmer also shares that back at Frantzén in Stockholm, the tradition is to close the restaurant over Christmas for three weeks. "When we came to Singapore, we decided to use this closure for Chinese New Year, hence why I will be working at the same time as Santa," he says.

Kirk Westaway
JAAN by Kirk Westaway
2 MICHELIN Stars, MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2021

Must-have Dishes on the Holiday Table: Roasts and Yorkshire Pudding

"Christmas wouldn’t be complete without quintessentially British festive dishes enjoyed with my loved ones," says Westaway. "A British Christmas back home is always a cosy and comforting affair that I enjoy. I hope to replicate the same festive atmosphere here in Singapore."

Similar to past years since being in Singapore, Westaway will organise a holiday party with his closest friends from the industry. "We gather over the best wines or champagnes, classic English dishes, and enjoy the night over hearty conversations and games for the night; simple yet immensely heartwarming."


Jeremy Gillon
1 MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2021

Must-have Dishes on the Holiday Table: Boudin Blanc with Mushroom & Calvados Cream, some Dried Fruits and Fresh Brioche, Stuffed Turkey with Chestnuts, Garlic, and Escargot Confit, and a Le Trou Normand (Fresh Apple Sorbet with a bit of Calvados)

"Although I'm not travelling home, I'm very happy to have special friends and rich relationships here in Singapore, so much that it gives me joy to celebrate the holidays here," shares Gillon. "I'm really looking forward to spending time with my close friends and have a feast. Because I am from Normandy, I'm cooking a special hometown dish of rabbit with cider and apple cream, served with root vegetables. Perhaps I'll add some truffles, too."

Gillon also reflects about the year that was, and remains grateful despite the challenges. He says: "While it has been a tough period full of learnings, it's the season to be thankful for what we have. While we have weathered quite a storm together, it seems that we are now on the other side of it as things are looking up. This makes me even more grateful. I am also excited and greatly looking forward to a wonderful 2022 with positivity and joy."


Liguang Han
1 MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2021

Must-have Dishes on the Holiday Table: Turkey with Stuffing, Ham, Mince Pie with Whipped Cream, Sausages, Roast Beef, Cake

"I grew up in quite a Westernised family, so before I opened Labyrinth, Christmas would always be a huge family gathering with our extended family. There would be a gift exchange on Christmas Eve, and presents would be waiting for us under the Christmas Tree," says Han.

"As we grew older, the tradition died a little, because when you're older, you want more practical gifts, right?" laughs Han. "So now, my aunties and uncles would give us a budget to buy our own gifts, have them wrapped, and hand it back to them so they could give them to us as Christmas presents on the day itself," he says.

Han shares that he will be spending Christmas working and celebrating with his team afterwards. Han says, "We'll probably order in some food, depending on what they feel like having for Christmas. We'll also pop some champagne and ring in the holidays together like a family."

Manogren Thevar
1 MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2021

Must-have Dishes on the Holiday Table: Roast Lamb Marinated with Indian Spices, Gunpowder Roast Potatoes, and Nankhatai Cookies (Indian shortbread), which are spiced with cardamom and nutmeg

"I will be spending Christmas with some of my closest friends in Singapore as I cannot travel back to Penang at the moment," says Thevar. He shares that if he were home in Penang, his mother would make her signature mutton biryani as this is one of their family traditions during the holiday season. "It's a delicious dish that the whole family partakes. Every time I cook this dish, it brings a sense of nostalgia and memories of home," Thevar says.

Rishi Naleendra
1 MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2021

Must-have Dishes on the Holiday Table: Barbecued Prawns with Frank's Hot Sauce, T-bone Steak, and Grilled Vegetable Salad

Naleendra spent most of his adulthood in Australia, so barbecues are an absolute must during this time of the year. "It’s summer over there right now, so having barbecues always work really well. It has been a big thing for my wife Manuela and I to have friends over for barbecue. We used to do it every year when we were in Australia with the family," he shares.

While Naleendra and his team at Cloudstreet will be working throughout the holiday season and taking some time off during CNY, they will have a barbecue on Boxing Day. "Hopefully we get to watch some of the Boxing Day cricket," says Naleendra.


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