Johanne Siy, a Filipino chef at Lolla in Singapore, has been honored with Asia’s Best Female Chef Award for 2023.
Siy has made history by becoming the second Filipina and first Singapore-based chef to receive this prestigious award, which was determined through the votes of over 300 members of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.
Since 2020, Siy has held the position of head chef at Lolla, and has guided the restaurant to its debut appearance in the prestigious list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022, securing the 75th spot. Her cooking style has earned plaudits for its deliberate focus on utilizing fresh ingredients, seasonal produce, and minimalist approaches, resulting in Asian-inspired modern European cuisine that pays homage to her Filipina roots.
Siy endeavors to cook with passion, imbuing each dish with a part of herself. She prioritizes the ingredients and ensures that they are the stars of her dishes, always placing their natural qualities before her own culinary flair.
Rather than showcasing complex techniques, she explained that she put a lot of thought into the dishes she creates – there has to be a reason why she’s serving certain things or playing with certain combinations.
Siy believes that sometimes, the most uncomplicated approach is the most fitting. Over-manipulating the ingredients can lead to waste and diminish their natural essence, as they are forced into unnatural shapes.
The chef’s message to aspiring female chefs or young culinary enthusiasts is to take their time and enjoy the journey. She advises them to work hard and work smart, always striving to learn and improve. Siy emphasizes the importance of remaining hungry for knowledge and experience, and to leave one’s ego at the door.