Singapore-based Chef Johanne Siy is at the head of Lolla restaurant and this year’s Best Female Chef in Asia.
Over 300 members of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy voted for Johanne Siy to receive this title.
The award aims to “celebrate women in gastronomy who continue to push the boundaries of excellence with their skills, techniques, and craft.”
Now the head chef of a successful restaurant, Siy first moved to Singapore to work for a major corporation. But that was not where her passions truly were.
Siy’s love for food began in her hometown of Dagupan City. She grew up in a tight-knit family where Filipino comfort cuisine was a staple at the dining table.
She was always interested in food and expected to cook for the family. But it didn’t occur to her at first that it could be a viable career path.
It was only when she moved to Singapore that she realized she could pursue her passion for gastronomy even further.
“Singapore made me realize that hospitality is a viable career—that you can actually pursue something that you love and make a living out of it,” says Siy.
She then studied at the renowned Culinary Institute of America in New York, before returning to Asia to work at André Chiang’s acclaimed Restaurant André.
When the restaurant closed in 2018, Siy took the chance to travel in Europe. There she gathered more experience, finding work from local farms to the esteemed restaurant Noma.
Siy returned to Singapore in 2020, just as the city was undergoing lockdown. The coronavirus pandemic crippled the hospitality industry, making it difficult for her to find work. Her dream of opening her own restaurant had to be put on hold.
Siy took the opportunity when she was offered a job at Lolla. At first she thought that it would just be a good temporary position.
However, after overhauling the restaurant’s menu to include modern European cuisine and Asian ingredients, their food began receiving great reviews.
“One thing led to another and after a little more than two years I’m still here,” Siy says.
Some of their popular dishes include abalone with mushroom consommé, crab relleno with aligue sauce and kaffir lime, and an avocado, smoked eel, eel consommé, and yuzu dish.
Upon winning the award, Siy says, “I want to shine a spotlight on the work of remarkable women in our industry, in the hopes that one day we as a community can thrive and reach new heights by leveraging the symbiosis that a truly egalitarian workforce brings.”
Banner image via Instagram @lollasg.