Hakkasan Dubai’s Chef Andy Toh Chye Siong’s passion for Cantonese and Asian cuisine in general began at a young age, after his passion for food was inspired in his home city of Penang, Malaysia, by his mother’s home cooking.
But it was not until several years later – at the age of 18 – that this passion was truly ignited whilst he was indulging in his other passion: travel. While overseas, Andy had the opportunity to cook overseas in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong, working for a number of highly regarded establishments including Star Cruises, the largest cruise line in Asia-Pacific.
From these beginnings, Andy’s in-depth knowledge of Asian cuisine has been nurtured by over a decade of working his way up through the industry. Andy’s interest lies in the different diets that range from each area and all contribute to the richness and diversity of flavors. Asian cooking is not only skilled but also beautifully presented and through Andy’s work, he has been able to explore all the influences that make up Asian food, from the more seasonal and traditional dishes through to the health and medicinal properties that ingredients contain.
With the knowledge and experience he has garnered, Andy has achieved the status of Chef de Cuisine at the award-winning Hakkasan Dubai, under the guidance of Chef Ho Chee Boon, International Development Chef for Hakkasan Group.
Andy truly believes that there is nothing more important than bringing a unique experience to every individual customer that comes to the restaurant. Using traditional techniques with very contemporary results, Andy’s food celebrates the very best ingredients to highlight Hakkasan’s modern authentic philosophy.
Andy sat down with Nasrine Abushakra to talk about his experiences and favorite places in Dubai.
Chef Andy Toh Chye Siong, Chef de Cuisine at Hakkasan Dubai
Tell us about your personal experience of branching out here in the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates.
I have always been very curious about the Middle East market and in particular the UAE. The food industry has developed tremendously and continues to do so. It was with great satisfaction that I had the possibility to take over Hakkasan Dubai and be part of a cuisine that’s obviously very close to my heart.
What has been your impression of the local food scene over the years here in the Middle East?
As the restaurant scene grows in Dubai, so does the variety of local ingredients. At Hakkasan we always strive to get the freshest ingredients so I’m very happy that the Dubai Market offers such a variety.
When you manage to find a little time to step away from Hakkasan, what are some of your favorite spots to dine or socialize?
It’s always fascinating to see the different concepts that are arriving to Dubai each month, so when I’m away from the kitchen, I like to visit other restaurants in the different areas of Dubai.
What is your favorite restaurant, besides Hakkasan?
My wife is from Thailand, so we tend to explore Thai restaurants in Dubai. I’m a fan of “Lemongrass”.
If you had not pursued a Chef career, what do you think you would have been?
It’s hard to imagine my life away from the kitchen, but I am a big fan of soccer, so I guess I would have tried my luck on the pitch!
What three ingredients MUST you have in your kitchen?
Rice, ginger, Chinese spices.