Kirk Westaway, 1 Michelin Star and 42nd in Asia’s 50 Best Jaan, Singapore

Chef de Cuisine Kirk Westaway stays true to his Devonshire upbringing through his devotion to fresh, seasonal produce, allowing him to cultivate a truly Modern European experience at Jaan. The dedication of his team has gained them the honor of 1 Michelin star and being placed 11th in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Kirk was awarded Young Chef 2015 and Rising Chef of the Year last year, placing him in the top tier of his profession. Kirk’s dream dinner guest would be Anthony Bennett. “I would relish the chance to show Anthony how much I have blossomed over the years and to give thanks for his mentoring would be my utmost privilege.” Kirk’s signature tomato dish proves he is truly talented, using basic homegrown ingredients to produce a technically challenging yet beautifully harmonious plate of food. His culinary style reflects his wholesome upbringing, passion for travel and his dedication to garden- fresh produce.

Kirk Westaway

1. What is your philosophy when it comes to food?

My philosophy is simple; uphold the integrity of the produce and translate the best of each ingredient onto the plate. By presenting my guests with the finest seasonal produce the world has to offer, I also hope to give them an unforgettable meal, one that transcends beyond the dish. This is what drives my commitment to serving produce-driven cuisine.

2. Name your most Favorite dish on the menu? And why?

The Hen’s Egg is a unique dish because it took a month of trial and research to perfect before I was ready to serve it. Through this long process of testing and experimenting, I also learnt something about the egg, one of the simplest foods. The egg is designed in two parts, when you separate the white and yolk, you either get an end product that is too bland or rich. I soon realised that God created the egg to be eaten as one. The Hen’s Egg is a product of a month of effort to deconstruct and rebuild the egg.

3. Main considerations when it comes to choosing your ingredients?

Part of my culinary philosophy is to remain true to the integrity of the produce and ingredients at question. Therefore, in choosing the ingredients, I simply select the best out there – best in terms of freshness, quality and versatility.

4. How do you see the growing demands for sustainable produce affecting the food world?

The growing appreciation for sustainable produce has resulted in an increased awareness amongst chefs of their responsibility towards a balanced ecosystem. There is still much to be done, but while demand for such sustainable practice grows, supply will follow. At JAAN, we source for seafood from sustainable and traceable sources, such as oysters from Ireland.

5. If you weren’t a chef, or in the food business, what would you be?

I would probably be a fireman, that was a childhood dream. I had so much respect for the firemen in my hometown and the work they do.

6. Do you have a memorable food experience that impacted you as a child or young chef?

Growing up in Devon, my family spent a lot of time harvesting home-grown fruits and vegetables in our gardens. We did a lot of cooking and baking together and my mum always involved us in the kitchen from a young age. This naturally introduced me to my love of cooking and definitely shaped my current philosophy of putting nature’s finest produce at the core and focus of what I do.

7. What do you enjoy most about being a chef?

I enjoy the never-ending opportunities and challenges that come with being a chef. There’s always room to experiment, improve and push the boundaries of my culinary capabilities. Each day brings something new and there’s never room for complacency.

8. Other than creating good food, what are the most important qualities that make a successful chef?

A successful chef never stops pushing himself to give his best to the work he’s doing. This applies to every aspect of being a (head) chef; innovation, quality of food, service, training of other chefs etc.

9. If you had a choice of anything for your last meal, what would you choose to have?

A large English Sunday roast beef, sat in a local pub in England in front of a roaring fire and a couple of pints of local ale.

10. Do you have any tips for budding chefs or restaurateurs?

Don’t give up. It’s a seemingly basic piece of advice, one that I received from a previous chefmentor of mine in London that has resonated with me throughout my culinary journey. It is probably not going to be a smooth or easy ride, but believe in yourself and give it all your all, anything is possible.

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