Hubert Burda Media

Chefs react to Michelin-star win

Here’s how Kirk Westaway, Jason Tan and Ivan Brehm handle their new honours.

“To be a star you must shine your own light” — the first Michelin guide to be launched in Southeast Asia bestowed a total of 37 stars on 29 Singapore dining establishments yesterday during a lavish awards ceremony at Resorts World Sentosa. And after the frenzy of the night passed, we caught up with three chefs to get a feel of how they’re reacting to their wins.


Kirk Westaway of Jaan

Right now I’m feeling… amazing, over the moon, very proud. For myself and my team to get this award, it’s fantastic.

To me, this award is… life-changing. I’ve been looking at Michelin for the last 15 years and to actually achieve that it’s amazing. What we’ve created in 14 months in my kitchen, with me and my team, we sacrificed a lot and to finally get recognition for it is amazing.

Up next at Jaan we’ll… continue to raise the standards, work harder, invent new dishes, and try to turn a star, from one star to two stars.

I will be celebrating by… drinking a bottle of Krug, for sure. (How about Krug x Egg?) A bottle of Krug and a poached egg, that makes sense!


Jason Tan of Corner House

Right now I’m feeling… very happy, it’s a good win, and I attribute it to my team.

To me, this award means that… hard work pays, not only for myself, but also for my team. I think that’s very important because a restaurant doesn’t work with one maestro.

At Corner House we’ll… continue to innovate, create new dishes and excel.


Ivan Brehm of The Kitchen at Bacchanalia

Right now I’m feeling… stoked, it’s very exciting, for sure. I wouldn’t say it’s all we work for, but when it comes, bring it. It feels amazing.

As for expectations on how we’d do… I just tried not to have them, and whatever comes is positive, i guess. I think we believe in what we’re doing, so we’ll just continue to do that. If people acknowledge that, then we’re happy.

Sitting among the chefs waiting for the results announcement… it was good, we’re all family, everybody knows each other, and you try to sneak another glass of champagne in and be happy about just being there. I like the fact that everybody is so close to one another, Singapore is such a competitive and at the same time receptive and welcoming kind of market.

To me this honour is… a milestone, I’ve never really done any of this for this, but the fact that it’s here means we’re on the right track for something and it just feels right.

Up next at Bacchanalia is… lunch service.

I will be celebrating by… planning a streak of seven-day celebration. You go big, it’s important — you only get your first star once.

The lucky charm I brought with me is… (Brehm lifts one trouser leg at the ankle to reveal colourful socks) I’m pretty particular about a purple and yellow combination, it’s just a pet peeve, I guess. Purple is good, it symbolises a few things. It’s my favourite socks. (Would he wear the same socks again next year?) Next year maybe more yellow and less purple, maybe that’s two stars instead! (laughs)