Michelin Names First Chinese 3-Star Chef

Hong Kong master began as chicken-plucker
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 3, 2009 10:36 AM CST
Lung King Heen, Chan's restaurant at the Four Seasons.   (Four Seasons Hong Kong)
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(Newser) – The Michelin Guide's first three-star Chinese chef is no celebrity who's pushing cookbooks and TV shows, the New York Times reports. Chan Yan-tak, who grew up as a kitchen hand and worked his way through Hong Kong restaurants, even quit the business to take care of his daughter. "My old colleagues started teasing me about when I’d get back to work," said Yan-tak. "I thought they were joking.”

But the Four Seasons persuaded him to cook in their new Hong Kong hotel, where Michelin experts visited a dozen times. The guide’s typically brief review calls his dishes “expertly crafted, nicely balanced and enticingly presented.” But the three-star nod is drawing criticism that Michelin is ignoring Hong Kong's staple family restaurants for hotel cuisine that entices visitors—the French in particular.