Chef Kirk West­away of JAAN

Chef de cui­sine, JAAN

Wine & Dine - - CONTENTS -

Hail­ing from a small sea­side town in Devon on the South­west coast of Eng­land, chef Kirk West­away has tra­versed the world, work­ing in places like London, France and South Amer­ica be­fore he landed in Sin­ga­pore. Un­der his lead­er­ship (since 2015), JAAN has been awarded one Miche­lin star for three con­sec­u­tive years, and has made a con­sis­tent ap­pear­ance on the Asia’s 50 Best Restau­rants list. It clinched 44th place this year.

Check out chef West­away’s lat­est Bri­tishin­spired menu at JAAN, which is built around a pas­sion to show­case the fresh­est in­gre­di­ents through sim­ple but beau­ti­ful dishes that re­flect both culi­nary tra­di­tion and creativ­ity. The Bri­tish chef looks to home for his in­spi­ra­tion and ei­ther uses in­gre­di­ents from Bri­tain or in­ter­prets English clas­sic dishes such as fish and chips in an orig­i­nal way.

How has the con­cept of fine din­ing changed over the years?

I be­lieve that fine din­ing has taken on a health­ier ap­proach over the years, with more restau­rants mak­ing a shift to­wards us­ing more veg­eta­bles, shell­fish and grains, which are more del­i­cate and much lighter com­pared to other pro­duce.

At JAAN, I have been mov­ing away from strong an­i­mal pro­tein and us­ing more veg­eta­bles and seafood. Per­son­ally, I en­joy eating dishes made with fresh veg­eta­bles. Since my ap­proach to cooking has al­ways been pro­duce-driven and sea­sonal, I’ve in­te­grated these el­e­ments into my sum­mer menu at JAAN, where guests can get a taste of Bri­tish sum­mer such as pur­ple cau­li­flower and sugar snaps.

From your ob­ser­va­tions, what are din­ers look­ing for when they go out to dine in a top restau­rant?

Din­ers are look­ing for some­thing that they can’t recre­ate at home—for in­stance in­gre­di­ents that they can’t find in lo­cal su­per­mar­kets and a unique din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Has the no­tion of fu­sion cui­sine changed?

Din­ers these days are well trav­elled and ed­u­cated, hence they are more ac­cept­ing of fu­sion cui­sine.

Since tak­ing over the reins of JAAN three years ago, I’ve slowly in­fused my own per­sonal touches to the restau­rant’s culi­nary phi­los­o­phy and din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. My new phi­los­o­phy of ‘Rein­vent­ing Bri­tish’ marks a fu­sion of my Bri­tish her­itage, per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences and culi­nary tech­niques, to de­liver a unique modern Bri­tish din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence.

I also in­cor­po­rate a va­ri­ety of lo­cal in­gre­di­ents in my dishes such as gulu melaka, which takes cen­tre stage in my straw­berry cheese­cake dessert, and is in­cor­po­rated as a nat­u­ral sweet­ener in some of my sauces. How­ever, de­spite these hints of lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, the ex­pe­ri­ence and di­rec­tion re­main wholly and au­then­ti­cally Bri­tish.

Tell us about your new dishes.

I’ve just launched a brand new menu, cen­tred on my phi­los­o­phy of ‘Rein­vent­ing Bri­tish’. One of the high­lights is the fish and chips snack, where I’ve trans­formed the tra­di­tion­ally sim­ple fare of fish and chips into a del­i­cate mini tart­let. An­other favourite is the English Gar­den, which is a com­bi­na­tion

of sea­sonal veg­eta­bles such as baby car­rots, Romesco leaves, kohlrabi, toma­toes, baby gem let­tuce, white cauliflow­ers, broc­co­lis and radishes.

What are some unique pro­duce that you’re ex­per­i­ment­ing with right now?

I’m ex­per­i­ment­ing with a unique Scot­tish kombu, which I used to make the dashi base for my blue chip­per potato truf­fle soup dish. As the only chef in Sin­ga­pore who sources from this par­tic­u­lar kombu pro­ducer in Scot­land, I’m very ex­cited to be able to sup­port small busi­nesses and also in­tro­duce new pro­duce to din­ers in Sin­ga­pore.

What’s next for JAAN?

Ar­riv­ing at the new menu phi­los­o­phy of ‘Rein­vent­ing Bri­tish’ has been a huge and ex­cit­ing change for my team and I. We can’t wait to see what this new chap­ter at JAAN will bring. Mov­ing for­ward, I will con­tinue to evolve the menu to en­sure it re­mains fresh, cur­rent and in­spir­ing, through the use of new tech­niques, fresh in­gre­di­ents or plat­ing style. Most im­por­tantly, the dishes will show­case Bri­tish din­ing in a modern, re­fresh­ing light.

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