CHEUNG SIU KONG
Chinese executive chef, Summer Pavilion, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Formerly from Lei Garden in Hong Kong where he perfected his skills at crafting delicate dim sums, chef Cheung Siu Kong moved to Singapore in 1996 and joined Summer Pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore in 2003. A passionate chef who picked up cooking from his grandmother at the age of seven, chef Cheung is known for his contemporary Cantonese dishes that bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients. He was appointed the executive chinese chef of Summer Pavilion in 2014, and has since led the establishment to maintain a Michelin star for three consecutive years.
What’s your benchmark for a top Chinese fine dining restaurant?
What defines an exceptional dining experience is personalised service— where guests are greeted by their names, and their preferences are understood and met. The authentic taste of the cuisine alongside innovative dishes and an elevated dining ambience also contribute to the recipe for success.
What sets Summer Pavilion apart from other Chinese fine dining restaurants?
We provide a winning combination of personalised service, coupled with the authentic taste of our cuisine and a contemporary dining ambience at Summer Pavilion.
How has the restaurant scene evolved since you first started working in Singapore?
With Singapore having established its presence as a gourmand’s paradise, competition has increased tremendously over the years. A significant number of established restaurants, renowned chefs and different cuisines ranging from Korean to Mediterranean have penetrated the market. This influx has provided diners with a lot more choices, which makes it more challenging for a restaurant and chef to find their competitive edge.
Among all the dishes on the menu, which is a testing measure of a good Cantonese kitchen?
I feel that dishes with ‘wok hei’ best represent Cantonese cuisine. It is a technique that showcases the chef’s skills, and the aroma also enhances the flavour of the dish. Personally, I really enjoy a simple dish of fried rice, where the wok’s “breath” is essential in adding flavour intensity to this classic dish.
That said, the Cantonese are well known for their soups, so I would say that Cantonese soups—where the soup looks clear but tastes flavourful—are a testing measure of the cuisine. Soups evoke a feeling of home, as they are traditionally part of a home-cooked Cantonese meal. My sons always request for soup whenever they come home for dinner.
How important is it for Chinese chefs to innovate and update Cantonese cuisine for a modern audience?
The fusion of Western and Eastern cooking techniques and flavours are increasingly well received, and I foresee that diners will be partial towards trying such menus. It is therefore important to continuously innovate the dining experience for our guests. Moving forward, I think the Cantonese dining scene in Singapore will continue to take inspiration from the West, in terms of plating and through wine pairing options, but the essence of Cantonese cooking—which is its wok technique and flavours, will remain.
What are some of your new dishes?
We recently launched a new tasting menu at Summer Pavilion featuring new culinary highlights, such as smoked duck with crispy beancurd skin; sautéed diced Miyazaki wagyu beef with bitter gourd and black bean sauce; and poached vermicelli with abalone in fish broth. There is also a wine pairing option for this menu.
Moving forward, what are your plans for Summer Pavilion?
I have plans to introduce new dishes to the menu at Summer Pavilion. At the same time, it is important for us to upkeep both our culinary and service standards to ensure an impeccable dining experience for all our guests.