Chef Name: Kirk Westaway
Title: Chef De Cuisine.
Awards: S. Pellegrino Young Chef for Southeast Asia, 2015.
Singapore’s Rising Chef of the Year, 2016.
One Michelin Star, 2016.
One Michelin Star, 2017.
Number 29, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, San Pellegrino, 2016.
Number 42, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, San Pellegrino, 2017.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
I often harvested home-grown, organic fruits and vegetables with my parents. This inspired in me a love for quality natural products and subsequently a keen interest in how such products are transformed in the kitchen.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
Christopher Kostow and Dan Barber. Both chefs use great ingredients, which are either locally sourced or grown on site. They have impressive philosophies on food and ingredient combinations and are focused on products from nature.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
The Wizard’s Cookbook by Ronny Emborg. It’s unique and it contains ideas that can’t be found anywhere else. It also includes recipes that really work, not to mention its fantastic images!
Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras. All of his dishes are made using fresh, organic products and ingredients which are sourced from local areas. This is an absolute inspiration for my own cuisine.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
All organic vegetables and Fleur de Sel.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
Ale-braised beef stew, crusty shortcrust topping and fresh pasta from scratch, with amazing fresh seafood.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
Meadowood, because of their ingredients and farm-to-table produce. When I completed a stage there in 2015 I was amazed by the intense quality of the ingredients available to hand.
Restaurant Bras. I was inspired by the book many years ago and I have worked with many chefs trained by this great chef and restaurant. The ingredients and cuisine have changed the style of many people’s cooking today.
And who would you take as your guest?
Not one person but a group of my old kitchen colleagues from around the world.
What do you look for in a good chef?
They must be dedicated, skilled and knowledgeable, have the best interests at heart, be tireless and keen to evolve.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
Never be comfortable and always challenge yourself. Never settle and keep pushing to outdo your best. Never cook for glory or because you’re in for a target. Cook because you enjoy it, because you enjoy being with people, the team, and you enjoy food.
Chef Kirk Westaway is Head Chef at Restaurant JAAN by Kirk Westaway.
Address: Level 70, Equinox Complex Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Road, Singapore.
Telephone: +65 6837 3322
Instagram: @chefkirk_w & @jaanbykirk