Ahead of the reveal of the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list on March 28, Lolla’s head chef Johanne Siy has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef for 2023. Siy is the first Singapore-based chef to bag the award, which recognises women who have made their mark on the gastronomy world with their talent and expertise.
Siy, who was born in Dagupan in the Philippines, took the helm at Lolla in 2020 and quickly drew attention with her innovative creations bursting with bold, punchy flavours. Under her leadership, Lolla gained rave reviews and climbed to 75th place on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2022. Highlights on the restaurant’s menu — which showcases Mediterranean-inspired cuisine — include crab relleno with aligue sauce (a Filipino fermented paste) and kaffir lime; avocado with smoked eel and eel consomme; and sea urchin pudding with squid ink custard.
Interestingly, 41-year-old Siy started out as a regional brand manager at Procter & Gamble before entering the culinary world in 2011. She went on to cook in some of the most famous restaurants around the globe, including Singapore’s now-shuttered Restaurant Andre, and Cafe Boulud and Le Bernardin in New York. She also did a stint at Rene Redzepi’s fine dining institution Noma.
“I am beyond honoured to be receiving this award. It is great validation for my team and I, for all the hard work invested in bettering our craft every single day. I am grateful for this platform that allows me to reach out to so many young chefs to hopefully inspire them to overcome barriers and push boundaries. 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,” said Siy.
Past recipients of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award include Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava from Thailand (2013), Lanshu Chen from Taiwan (2014) and Hong Kong’s Vicky Lau (2015). This year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony will be held in Singapore and, for the first time since 2019, will be a full-scale and in-person event.
William Drew, Director of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “Johanne Siy’s deep understanding of the provenance of ingredients and her flair for presenting cuisine that is produce-driven, alongside mindful inclusions of the culinary traditions she grew up with, make her a worthy recipient of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award. Her work at Lolla is a true reflection of the many years spent and intentional experiences sought in order to hone her craft.”