Three strike gold at Asian restaurant awards

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) - One of the three - Shinji by Kanesaka - bags three awards, including Chef of the Year

Shinji by Kanesaka scored three wins last night at The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao's Best Asian Restaurants Awards, held at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.

The sushi restaurant at Carlton Hotel in Bras Basah Road, which was also in the gold category last year, is one of three gold recipients at this year's awards, together with Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine at Ion Orchard, and Summer Pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

Shinji's St Regis Singapore outlet won again in the silver category, and master chef Koichiro Oshino, 48, picked up the Chef of the Year title.

Ms Joni Ong, 57, managing director of Shinji by Kanesaka, said: "Both restaurants are similar in concept and in terms of the food that we bring in. What differentiates them are the chefs, and the personalities of the chefs appeal to different groups of people.

"We feel that both restaurants are equally good, operating under the same philosophy of always putting the customer first and being very consistent in our food offerings and service level. Winning both silver and gold is a testament to the hard work and efforts by both chefs and their teams."

The annual awards programme, to celebrate the best in Asian dining in Singapore, is into its second year. Winning restaurants are ranked in bronze, silver and gold categories.

Ranked silver are 22 restaurants, including Peranakan restaurant Candlenut at Como Dempsey, Japanese restaurant Ki-sho in Scotts Road, as well as newcomers Majestic Restaurant, serving contemporary Chinese cuisine at Marina One, and Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill at Clarke Quay.

Restaurants were judged on the quality of food and service. The judges were The Straits Times' Life editor Tan Hsueh Yun, deputy Life editor Wong Ah Yoke and food correspondent Eunice Quek, and Lianhe Zaobao food correspondents Marcus Yeo, Ng Chin Chin and Ng Yimin.

Mr Wong said: "Our standards are high. And although more restaurants have opened, we found that many have yet to find their feet. The judges went through the list of restaurants carefully to discuss their merits before deciding on the winners. Some restaurants may seem humble but the effort they put into the food makes them more memorable than more expensive places."

The 29 bronze winners were presented with their prizes by Lianhe Zaobao and Lianhe Wanbao editor Goh Sin Teck. Straits Times executive editor Sumiko Tan gave out the silver awards, and Singapore Press Holdings deputy chief executive officer Anthony Tan presented the Special Recognition, Manager of the Year, Chef of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards.

SPH chief executive officer Ng Yat Chung, who presented the gold awards, said: "We have such a wonderful collection of Asian restaurants in Singapore. It's our privilege to be able to showcase many of them in one night."

About 200 people from the food and beverage industry attended the awards ceremony and invitation-only gala reception.

The annual awards programme is part of Asian Masters, a year-long gourmet festival that kicked off in March and will continue with dining and cocktail promotions until next February. Asian Masters is organised by Sphere Exhibits, a wholly owned subsidiary of SPH, and F&B consultancy Poulose Associates.

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