Food Awards 2017: Chef of the Year

Meet the chefs making our mouths water in Beijing

As you can tell from the other Time Out Food Award categories, Beijing has some pretty awesome restaurants. That's thanks to the diverse and tastebud-tantilising culinary culture of China, and it's also thanks to some Grade A chefs. It's no surprise that Beijing attracts serious talent in the kitchen department – after all, it's one of the most vibrant cities in Asia. Still, it's high time we celebrate the cooks that feed us so handsomely, so here's our pick of the best in Beijing. You can vote for your favourite here.

Li Dong, Jing Yaa Tang

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If you've ever been lucky enough to sample the dim sum at Jing Yaa Tang (in the basement of The Opposite House), you'll know that head chef Li Dong doesn't mess around when it comes to big flavours delicately executed. As well as serving up some of the best Peking Duck in the city, Li Dong, a local Beijinger, brings classic and contemporary Chinese cuisine together with a flair that is deceptively effortless.

Marino D'Antonio, Opera Bombana

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When it comes to fine dining, Marino D'Antonio is and old school Italian master. Hailing from northern Italy, he trained at various Michelin-starred restaurants around Europe, before settling in Beijing. After opening Sureno, which still serves some of the best Mediterranean food in the city, he moved to Opera Bombana, where he designed a mouth-watering menu of classic, rustic, Italian cuisine. Sir, we salute you.

Aneillo Turco, Mio

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Young, passionate and with a sense of purpose that emanates from the open kitchen at Mio, Aniello Turco wields a playful confidence. While some chefs play with colour and texture, Turco addresses his ingredients on a cellular level, manipulating asparagus into a frozen cloud of herbaceous foam, suspending globules of 15-year-old balsamic vinegar in a mixture of dried tofu and pulverised bread to form vegan 'ice cream'. This is not smoke and mirrors, this is molecular gastronomy at its most essential – utilising the technical to create something bordering on emotional.

Jarrod Verbiak, Bistrot B

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Fittingly for such an international lineup of chefs and restaurants in this year's Food Awards, Jarrod Verbiak from The Rosewood's Bistrot B as a global culinary heritage. Born and raised in Ohio, with Eastern European grandmothers who raised him on home-cooked food, Jarrod trained in New York with the lauded chef Daniel Boulud, leading to a career in classic French cuisine. 'Collaboration always brings out my best creative work,' he says, but it's certainly Verbiak who is stealing the show at one of the best French restaurants in town.

Talib Hudda, Sureno

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Canadian-born Talib Hudda started in the kitchen young – he remembers cooking with his grandma when he was just six years old, and at the age of 16 enrolled at a professional culinary school. The studious chef has since trained all over the world, including a stint in New York City and earning a Michelin star in Copenhagen. His Beijing track record is pretty impressive, too. Having moved here to be executive chef at The Georg, he's now responsible for the fresh, innovative and wholesome flavours we taste at Sureno.

Gu Zhihui, Beijing Kitchen

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A master of modern Cantonese cuisine, Gu Zhihui has taken to the helm of Beijing Kitchen with mouth-watering results.

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