Singapore’s Lolla head chef Johanne Siy named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2023

She gave up her job at a big company to pursue her passion in cooking at Restaurant André in Singapore.

Johanne Siy (left) and Singapore's Lolla restaurant's signature dish crab relleno in aligue sauce (right).
The head chef of Lolla restaurant Johanne Siy (left) was hailed as Asia's Best Female Chef 2023. The Singapore restaurant is known for featuring modern cuisine with flavours from Nordic countries and “gastronomic inspirations from Asia such as the crab relleno in aligue sauce (right). (Photo: Johanne Siy/Instagram)

The head chef of Lolla, one of Singapore’s “most exciting” restaurants, was named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2023.

Johanne Siy, a Filipina chef based in Singapore, snagged the prestigious award ahead of the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants award ceremony on 28 March.

WIth a background in manufacturing having originally moved to Singapore to work for Procter & Gamble, Siy didn't originally consider a career in the culinary arts. She realised that pursuing her passion for cooking could be a viable career option after spending more time in the city-state.

“Singapore made me realise that hospitality is a viable career – that you can actually pursue something that you love and make a living out of it,” Siy said in an interview.

Siy's path to Asia's Best Female Chef crown began with her training at The Culinary Institute of America in New York. She honed her craft with apprenticeship under renowned chefs such as Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin and Daniel Boulud of Cafe Boulud.

Female representation in kitchens

Giving up a lucrative job for a career known for its unpredictability and unforgiving nature was a risk she was willing to take, according to Siy, but it was one that paid off.

“It was a risk I was willing to take – to give up a stable job and start again from the very bottom of the tree,” she said.

After her training in the United States, Siy returned to Asia to work as a sous chef at the two Michelin-starred Restaurant André in Singapore. She then went to Europe to work on farms and forage before finally becoming the head chef at Lolla in 2020.

Singapore made me realise that hospitality is a viable career.

“Siy is justifiably proud of her coronation as Asia’s Best Female Chef 2023. Hailing from a part of the world where women leading kitchens is still something of a novelty, she is happy that her achievements are being recognised. However, she believes that her own personal notoriety is just the tip of the iceberg for female representation in kitchens,” The World’s 50 Best Restaurants said.

Best known for featuring modern cuisine with flavours from Nordic countries and “gastronomic inspirations from Asia,” Lolla is widely known as one of Singapore’s most exciting restaurants. Some of its famous dishes include crab relleno in aligue sauce, a tribute to Siy’s Filipina roots.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and lifestyle writer who focuses on politics, the economy, and pop culture. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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