KIRK WESTAWAY, 32 JAAN

Wine & Dine - - SINGAPORE’S TOP RESTAURANTS ISSUE FEATURE -

When Bri­tish chef Kirk Westaway took over the reins of Jaan two years ago from men­tor Julien Royer, the pres­sure was on to up­hold the for­mi­da­ble qual­ity and rep­u­ta­tion of the restau­rant. “I put ev­ery part of my life out­side Jaan on hold. I was in the kitchen 20 hours a day. The first two years were chal­leng­ing, but I was de­ter­mined to re­main fo­cused and make a mark for my­self,” he said. With him at the helm, Jaan ob­tained one Miche­lin star last year and hung on to it this year. Wine & Dine also recog­nised its stel­lar stan­dards with two stars on our Singapore’s Top Restau­rants guide this year.

Westaway’s culi­nary phi­los­o­phy rests on high­light­ing the best of sea­sonal pro­duce and evok­ing nos­tal­gia and emo­tions through his meals. His fi­nesse is ev­i­dent in two of his signature dishes. In Westaway's heir­loom tomato collection, a vine-ripened heir­loom tomato is cooked sous vide in tomato con­sommé, stuffed with a com­bi­na­tion of ox­heart toma­toes, gherkins, capers and oregano, then served with bur­rata and basil sor­bet. The base in­gre­di­ent is sim­ple, but di­men­sions of flavour are teased out through elab­o­rate prepa­ra­tion. An­other is Alaskan king crab, in which the crus­tacean is wrapped in pick­led kohlrabi and paired with pea panna cotta, sea urchin, Osci­etra caviar and a quenelle of fro­mage blanc sor­bet.

There's no rest for the wicked as this chef is con­stantly sourc­ing for ideas. Travel to Tai­wan is on the cards to ex­plore the veg­eta­bles and fruit there. Mean­while, his cur­rent project is a new egg dish, a flare egg cus­tard with egg yolk, caviar, smoked mush­rooms, brioche and parmesan. “If you sep­a­rate egg whites and yolks, you ei­ther get an end prod­uct that is too bland or too rich. A huge part of the R&D process was separat­ing both el­e­ments and re­com­bin­ing them in dif­fer­ent ways. It’s a long process that re­quired a lot of test­ing. Fi­nally, we got to this end prod­uct that checked ev­ery box for me.”

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