Asia’s Best Young Chef Winner, Singaporean Ian Goh, on Showcasing his Hainanese Heritage

Evelyn Chen wrote . . . . . . . . .

In 2019, Kevin Wong won the S. Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Asian regional competition in Tokyo.

The young Malaysian chef went on to clinch third place at the S. Pellegrino Young Chef Academy global finals last year in Milan.

This year, the 29-year-old became the chef-owner of new restaurant Seroja, which opened in Singapore shopping centre Duo Galleria in October.

“The S. Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition gives a platform for young chefs to shine,” Wong says. “The judges are some of the best in the world, and clinching the top spots lends credibility to the chefs. It gives them an opportunity to stand out among the sea of bright young chefs.”

The S. Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award for Asia was held by Wong for three years, before going this year to Singaporean Ian Goh.

Goh cut his teeth in French cuisine at Singapore restaurants Ma Cuisine and Alma by Juan Amador, and at the end of last year became sous chef at Nae:um – which went on to win its first Michelin star this August.

During the S. Pellegrino young chef competition, Goh’s heritage lamb dish impressed the judges in a tightly contested cook-off against nine other Asian participants.

“I was extremely impressed with Ian Goh from the beginning,” says chef Daniel Calvert, of French restaurant Sezanne at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo At Marunouchi, one of the competition’s judges. “He spoke with conviction, worked cleanly and in an organised manner, whilst demonstrating a wide range of techniques and skills.”

Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn of Le Du, Bangkok, who was another of the five-member judge panel, agrees.

“He chose a risky dish with five components of lamb – luckily he pulled it off,” he says, referring to Goh’s offering that comprised a quintet of lamb plates, each cooked using a different Western cooking technique and flavoured with a medley of diverse local spices.

According to chef Ton, Goh worked the station very well – “[His] presentation was beautiful and [his] cooking techniques on point”, he says – but the decisive factor was the young chef’s “personal belief and ability to communicate that to the jury”.

“His dish was also delicious,” says Calvert.

During the competition, each participant was given 15 minutes to present his or her dish to the judges. Although Goh was several minutes late addressing the judges, his presentation struck a chord.

“This dish began with my love for lamb and the hope to highlight my Hainanese heritage,” Goh says, adding that lamb – specifically Dong Shan lamb – has been a long-time staple of Hainanese cuisine.

“I was raised with the mindset that we should know and cultivate our roots – likewise with culinary patrimony,” he says, explaining how his dish showcased variations of lamb encompassing ingredients featured along the Spice Route – the ancient trading route that linked East Asia and Europe – and the classic French techniques he’s learned thus far in his career.
While he already knew what he wanted to present – “the idea itself came naturally to me,” he says – executing the dish correctly was a “whole other challenge”.

Because of his busy schedule at work he practised on rest days, mimicking the competition environment and preparing the required amount of dishes in a specific time frame.

“I could not have asked for a better mentor than chef Louis Han, the chef-owner of Nae:um, considering that he himself competed [in the same competition] in 2016,” he says. Han brought a wealth of experience and knowledge.

“We spent long hours together not only to train physically, but he helped to instil confidence and mental steadfastness in me.”

Goh didn’t only walk away with the 2022-2023 S. Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Award, Asian edition; he was also awarded the supplementary Fine Dining Lovers Food for Thought Award, voted for by the online community.

Still reeling from the shock of winning the top prize, which will see him become one of 26 contestants joining the global finals in Milan next year, Goh praises the “level of technical excellence on display” at the competition – proof that there are many great young chefs in Asia.

Beyond the three key performance criteria of technical skills, creativity and personal belief used to assess the young chefs, Goh says that mental fortitude is key.

“This was [part] of the mental training set forth to me by chef Louis – inside I was a bag of nerves but, as with any open kitchens, the outlook of the chef matters,” he says. “We have to give the guests a sense of calm and peace.”

A practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Goh says that in any match, mental strength and mind games have a big part to play. “As long as you show your rivals that you’re prepared, half the battle is already won.”

“Always mentally prep yourself by telling yourself that you can make it,” Goh says.

Source: SCMP






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Green Beans Can be One of the Healthiest Dishes at the Holiday Table

Laura Williamson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Whether served in a casserole, almondine or roasted with garlic, green beans are sure to make an appearance on many a table this holiday season.

And unlike many of the tempting treats that make up holiday meals, the green bean is one item that’s not usually served with a side of guilt. In fact, it may be the Mighty Mouse of the holiday meal – here to save the day from a beckoning bounty of otherwise fat-laden, calorie-rich foods.

“If not prepared with higher-calorie ingredients, you can eat a large volume of them and feel fuller without overconsuming,” said Maya Vadiveloo, an associate professor in the department of nutrition and food services at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.

There’s little the mighty green bean can’t do.

Not only are they relatively inexpensive, green beans are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables their color. The vegetable helps fight inflammation and is a good source of folate and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Green beans also are a good source of protein and fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, Vadiveloo said.

“Fiber is underconsumed by U.S. adults and children, and it’s good for gut health,” she said. “(Fiber) is great for reducing colon cancer risk.”

But whether the green bean delivers its health benefits without also doing harm depends on how the vegetable is prepared, Vadiveloo said.

Boiling the beans removes a lot of nutrients – and a lot of taste, she said.

Vadiveloo recommends cooking them in heart-healthy oils, such as olive oil, or any non-tropical vegetable oil, rather than fatback. If making a casserole, heavy creams or creamy soups can be replaced with Greek yogurt or low-fat milk. For those who want a little cheese on top, she suggests sprinkling cheese instead of pouring it on.

And to maintain the blood pressure-lowering benefits, “don’t put too much salt on them,” she said. “Use other seasoning. I like eating them Szechuan style with cayenne pepper. Or dipping raw green beans in hummus.”

The type of green bean also matters, Vadiveloo said. Fresh or flash frozen is best.

“That said, if what’s available to you is canned green beans and you are picking between that and a non-vegetable,” she said, “I would encourage people to select the canned variety.”

But try to grab the low-sodium option.

What’s most important about maintaining good health at holiday meals, Vadiveloo said, is balance.

“If there are things people really, really like, if it’s a holiday favorite or something your aunt brought to the table and you really crave it, go ahead and have some,” she said. “But balance it out with healthier sides and only take a little.”

Source: American Heart Association





Corn-thickened Turkey Stew


9 oz corn kernels
bunch of cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 oz loche squash, grated
1 caigua, chopped
2 tablespoons Yellow Chili Paste
1 (2-lb) turkey, cut into 2-1/2-ozpieces
2 cups cooked rice to serve
salt and pepper


  1. Put the corn kernels and cilantro leaves in a blender or baton (Peruvian grinder) and blend or grind to form a thick paste. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over low heat, add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes, until the onion has softened. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the grated squash, caigua, and chili paste, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes until the ingredients are cooked.
  4. Pour in 8 cups water and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes until the stew has thickened and reduced.
  5. Season the turkey pieces with salt and pepper. Add the turkey to the stew and cook for 40-45 minutes over low heat until tender.
  6. Add the corn paste to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously, until the stew thickens. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Peru – The Cookbook

Today’s Comic




Home-cooked Vegetarian Dinner

The Menu

  • Miso Soup
  • Stir-fried Gluten and Vegetables
  • Steamed Daikon
  • Chinese Cabbage Kimchi
  • Brown Rice with Adzuki Beans