Let’s acknowledge the wide ranging and valuable contributions that women have made – and continue to make – in society. What better opportunity to showcase the women chefs who are shaping the Singapore gastronomy scene.
These 10 women chefs are making headway into the professional kitchen with ingenuity and the feminine touch. Trailblazers today, they will be role models for generations to come.
1. Mariana Campos D’Almeida – The Butcher’s Wife
Born and raised in Brazil, professionally trained in France, and unleashing her ingenious skills and creativity in Singapore. That’s Mariana Campos D’Almeida for you. Mariana uses her Brazilian heritage as a foundation on which to fuse Asian flavours, and it just works.
Her style is heavy on fermentation science, employing wild kefir, kombucha, yoghurt, and butter liberally.
You can sample her creations on the menu she revamped herself at The Butcher’s Wife.
2. Nadine Waechter-Moreno – Andaz
Swiss Nadine Waechter-Moreno has travelled the world honing her craft, most recently across Southeast Asia. Her love of, and connection to cooking is through her grandmother, with whom she remembers years of kitchen experimentation and discoveries. Nadine describes her cooking as uncomplicated and all about the flavour, no matter what the cuisine or dish.
Nadine Waechter-Moreno has always been one to break new ground and she does it again as the first female Executive Chef of Andaz Singapore.
3. Priya Joseph – YARANA
Singaporean Chef Priya began doing the hard yards the moment she set her eyes on earning her chef’s hat. To lay a solid foundation of experience in Western cuisine early in her career, she began as a novice in a fine-dining Italian restaurant. It was a demanding environment with a steep learning curve.
However, the drive for daily excellence instilled in her the essential qualities of a good chef. She credits the difficult but immensely educational experience as the spark which continues to motivate her today.
Having honed her skills with such a challenging introduction to the heat of the kitchen, Chef Priya is well equipped to build an excitingly diverse repertoire. It gave her the confidence to branch out on her own, first as a culinary instructor and then as the head of her restaurant consultancy enterprise.
Along the way, she diversified her skills with Indian and South Asian cuisine, and consulted for various local bistros. In 2020, she was picked to lead Indian fusion restaurant YARANA, the ideal setting to incorporate her experience in Western cuisine.
Under her leadership, YARANA continues to be one of the most exciting Indian restaurants in Singapore. Not one to rest on her laurels, Chef Priya is also Executive Chef for the group that operates SILVERMALT and LIN Rooftop Bar.
4. Akane Eno – Ichigo Ichie
Akane Eno is the only female Japanese chef leading a restaurant in Singapore. She has helmed Ichigo Ichie, her own fine dining restaurant at InterContinental Robertson Quay. It has been a steeper challenge than anyone could have anticipated, launching in 2020 just before the Covid lockdowns began.
Celebrate with Akane at Ichigo Ichie with a 5-course (S$138++ per person) or 7-course (S$188++ per person) lunch. There is also a 9-course (S$350++ per person) or specially-curated 9 course (S$428++ per person) dinner.
5. Janice Wong – 2am:dessert bar
Singaporeans with a penchant for sweet things will immediately recognise the name Janice Wong. She was Her World’s Young Woman of the Year 2012, won the title of Asia’s best pastry chef two years running (2013 & 2014), and was named Pastry Chef of the Year three times (2011, 2013 & 2015).
She is known for her experimentative outlook, which manifests in cooking techniques and machines; Janice has created edible art and 3D printed chocolates, too.The best place to sample her inventive range is at her specialty dessert experience outlet 2am:dessert bar.
6. Bannie Kang – Sidedoor
The exquisitely-named Bannie Kang entered the wider Singaporean consciousness in 2012. It was the year she was announced as the first runner-up at the National Cocktail Competition organised by the Association of Bartenders and Sommeliers Singapore.
She has gone on to garner a slew of other awards, including that of Best Female Bartender at the Bar Awards Singapore in 2014 and 2015. You can see her wield the tumblers for yourself at Sidedoor.
7. Johanne Siy – Lolla
Johanne Siy has received widespread acclaim, and her prodigious talent earned the ultimate nod in 2023 when she was named Asia’s Best Female Chef by Asia’s 50 Best. This marked the first time that a Singapore-based chef has been given this accolade. She had previously been awarded the title of Female Chef of the Year at Singapore’s World Gourmet Awards (WGA) 2021.
Known for her precision and humility, she executes a unique culinary style that is a combination of European and Mediterranean. It is a talent Johanne honed in farms and kitchens in Scandinavia. Dig into Johanne’s delectable creations at Lolla at Ann Siang Hill.
8. Aeron Choo – Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar
Aeron Choo started cooking at the age of 14, which means that the 27-year-old has been doing it for over half of her life. The accolades have come thick and fast, culminating in her graduation from the prestigious Japan Sushi Instructors Association in Tokyo.
Despite being one of the youngest chefs in the country, Aeron has been running her own omakase bar, Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar. The cosy 12-seater has been booked solid right through so good luck with reservations!
9. Violet Oon – Violet Oon Singapore
Violet is the grande dame of Singapore’s culinary scene, a true trailblazer who has shaped our national food journey and also how Singaporean cuisine is perceived around the world. The Peranakan specialist has been the nation’s Food Ambassador since 1998 and was inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016.
Two years later, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence.
Be in awe of her mastery at Violet Oon Singapore.
10. Petrina Loh – Morsels
From bank boardroom to kitchen, Petrina Loh’s journey to the pinnacle of gastronomy has been unorthodox to say the least. Unsurprisingly, her advice to aspiring chefs is that there is no right or wrong; create your own voice.
Petrina won the title of World Gourmet Summit Chef’s Choice (Western) in 2017. Her leadership and unwavering commitment to excellence also won her eatery, Morsels the title of Restaurant of the Year at the same event. She followed that up by topping the field as Chef of the Year at the 2022 edition of the same awards.
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