Filipino Chef From SG Johanne Siy is Asia's Best Female Chef


Asia's Best Female Chef 2023 Winner Johanne Siy Aims to Empower More Women

Filipino chef Johanne Siy was recognised as Asia’s Best Female Chef 2023 by one of the most prestigious organisations in global gastronomy – Asia’s 50 Best. Siy is the first chef based in Singapore to take home the special award, which was bestowed to her on Feb. 7 ahead of the announcement of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants on March 28.

More than 300 members of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Academy participated in the voting process to determine the winner of this award. Siy's dedication to the field of gastronomy, combined with her natural talent and savvy as a woman, ultimately earned her the title.

She grew up in a loving, close-knit household in Dagupan City, Philippines. Despite her innate love for food, Siy initially never thought of pursuing a career in culinary arts. Instead, she spent six years working in Singapore for a multinational manufacturing firm.

Her gastronomic passion remained strong throughout the years, and she took a big leap by enrolling at New York's prestigious Culinary Institute of America. After she completed her education, Siy landed a job at Le Bernardin and Café Boulud.

Upon her return to Singapore in 2020, Siy was greeted by the crippling hospitality sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her hopes of opening a new restaurant were put on hold for the time being. To make a long story short, she joined as the head chef of the tapas restaurant Lolla, where she has worked until now.

With this recognition, Siy is proud to say that women are capable of leading professional careers in the world of gastronomy, a field where majority of investors and entrepreneurs have less confidence in a company helmed by a woman.

“Unfortunately, in Asia, the expectation for women to get married and start building families is still very strong,” Siy said in the media release.

She also talked about the limited opportunities offered to women in the industry compared to men.

“There is no denying that men and women are different. There may be certain things that you cannot do because you're not as strong as the big guy next to you. Accept and embrace those limitations and try to find a smart way to work around them.”

Overall, Siy is delighted that this topic was brought up in a larger setting, claiming that there were no successful female chefs during her earlier days, especially in Asia. She hoped that her success will serve as a “living demonstration” that women can also thrive in the culinary industry, not just in Asia but anywhere in the world.

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