In the Family

From a Spanish culinary heir to a passionate pastry whiz, these next-gen chefs are giving Singapore a modern spin on their ancestral food.

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - CONTENTS - BY GRACE MA

Next-generation chefs in Singapore are whipping up modern spins on their ancestral food.

FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS of giants is never an easy task, all the more in the unforgiving world of dining, where first impressions rarely change and dish comparisons are inevitable. Fueled by passion and undaunted by challenges, these young chefs have been inspired to join the kitchens of the generations before them and share their families’ food in their own ways.

This year, 25-year-old Joe

Leong finally joined his parents behind the pass of their Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, Forest. While many chefs struggle to find familial successors, surprisingly, Joe’s father, celebrity chef Sam Leong, initially objected to his son’s intention to follow his career path. Sam and his wife, the Thaiborn chef also named Forest, suggested that their son try desserts instead. After training under some of Singapore’s best, including sweets queen Janice Wong, Joe took charge of the pastry kitchen at envelope-pushing Tippling Club in 2016. This January, Joe became Forest’s junior sous chef, creating Chinese desserts for his parents’ menu.

So far, the young chef has displayed a modern style while staying close to his roots: classic black sesame dessert is reinvented as “Textures of Sesame,” a hot black-lava cake, crumble and ice cream; Italian panna cotta becomes a tofu version, flavored with ginger and orange; and the classic egg tart gets a modern twist with local-obsession salted egg custard. “Finding the right ingredients is a challenge,” Joe says. “I hope to creatively use the techniques I’ve learned over the years to showcase Chinese ingredients.” rwsentosa. com; mains from S$30, five-course set menu from S$138.

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JOE LEONG Forest

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