1 Michelin Star Chefs: Tong Chee Hwee, Executive Head Chef of Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Soho

The  Staff Canteen

Tong Chee Hwee is the executive head chef of Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Soho - which both hold a Michelin star.

Born in 1963, Tong Chee Hwee started his career at the age of 18 at the Happy Valley Chinese restaurant in Singapore, working for chef Cheng Hon Chau. Chef Cheng was known as a master of Cantonese cuisine, and it was under his mentorship that Tong Chee Hwee honed his own skills and techniques.

Hakkasan Hanway Place

Hakkasan Hanway Place

Website: http://hakkasan.com/

Tel: 020 7927 7000

Email: [email protected]

Opening hours: Lunch Monday to Friday 12pm to 3pm (Saturday 12pm to 4:15pm, Sunday 12pm to 4:45pm)

Dinner Sunday to Wednesday 5:30pm to 11:15pm (Thursday to Saturday 5:30pm to 12:15am)

Head chef: Tong Chee Hwee

General manager: Sharon Wightman

Twitter: @HakkasanHanway

Instagram: @hakkasanhanway

Facebook: Hakkasan Hanway

Biography

Working under Chef Cheng also taught Tong Chee Hwee an important lesson about patience and respect – Chef Cheng favoured helping his chefs to learn rather than shouting at them when mistakes were made, a philosophy Tong Chee Hwee still adopts today in his own kitchens.

He then moved to their Kuala Lumpur restaurant and in 1995 he moved back to Singapore to work at the hotel Carlton as a fryer chef.

Tong Chee Hwee
Tong Chee Hwee

After fourteen years at both Happy Valley Singapore and its sister restaurant in Kuala Lumpur Tong Chee Hwee moved to the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Singapore.

It was in Singapore that he was discovered by Alan Yau who oversaw the kitchens at the highly regarded Chinese restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton. Tong was persuaded to move to London in 2001 to become head chef at the soon to be opened Hakkasan.

Awards and accolades

Within a year of its launch, Hakkasan won its first Michelin star in the 2003 guide, which it still maintains today. Hakkasan is the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in United Kingdom.

Proving there was a great deal of substance to accompany the restaurant’s style further accolades swiftly followed, including a 2 AA Rosettes.

Tong then won London Chef of the Year at the Tio Pepe ITV Restaurant Award 2005 making him the only Chinese person to win such an award. In 2010 he became executive head chef for the Hakkasan group. Chef Tong holds a total of 11 years’ experience at Hakkasan. His HKK project, a Chinese banqueting restaurant serving only a tasting menu, opened in London in 2012.

Food style

Chef Tong uses traditional and authentic flavours in his dishes that are executed and presented in a modern way. Traditional Chinese cooking includes using a huge amount of oil, but in the modern culture this is not considered healthy, so Tong tries to find alternative ways to use less oil when cooking his dishes.

What the guides say...

Michelin

michelin star

AA Restaurant Guide

AA 2 Rosettes

Harden's

hardens hakkasan hanway

He was inspired to learn to cook by his family; mostly his grandmother and gained an appreciation for gathering food from the fields and turning it into something to eat, liking the idea of creating something from nothing. However, it was chef Chen from Hong Kong, the master chef of Cantonese cuisine in the 1980s, who taught Tong the key techniques under his 14 year mentorship.

Hakkasan is known for its contemporary dishes that retain the essence of conventional Cantonese cuisine. With signature dishes such as the roasted silver cod with champagne and honey to the Crispy duck salad.

Other interests

Tong also took part in the 2009 London Eye’s pop-up restaurant for the London Restaurant Festival. He was joined by other chefs including Gordan Ramsay, Richard Corrigan, Francesco Mazzei, Ross Shonhan and Vineet Bhatia to create a meal for ten diners in the pop-up restaurant. In March 2014, a new Hakkasan opened in Shanghai.

Following the success of Hakkasan Hanway Place a sister restaurant, Yauatcha, opened in Soho in 2004 under Tong Chee Hwee’s watchful eye. Specialising in dim sum, tea and patisserie, Yauatcha’s reasonably priced range of small plates and specialist teas made the restaurant as popular as its predecessor, and it was awarded a Michelin star of its own in 2005.

In 2010 Tong Chee Hwee became executive head chef for the entire Hakkasan group, overseeing the opening of Hakkasan Mayfair that same year.

Popular with local and international glitterati alike, the restaurant offers a ‘Supreme’ menu to cater for its premium clientele with Lobster noodles and Peking duck with Qiandao caviar among the most sought after dishes.

Videos with Tong Chee Hwee:

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd November 2017

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Tong Chee Hwee, Executive Head Chef of Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Soho