DeAille Tam named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2021

DeAille Tam, executive chef and co-founder of Obscura in Shanghai, has been named as Asia’s Best Female Chef 2021.

Voted for by over 300 industry experts from across the region, the results of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 edition will be revealed virtually on 25 March.

Before the announcement, the result for the 2021 Asia’s Best Female Chef Award has come out, and DeAille Tam from Obscura in Shanghai is the award recipient.

According to William Drew, director for Restaurant magazine, the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award, “honours female chefs whose artistry, skills and commitment push the creative boundaries of gastronomy”. Tam’s creative flair, progressive approach and deep understanding of China’s culinary traditions set an inspiration for the next generation.

Prior to opening Obscura in Shanghai in November 2020, Tam and her husband – co-founder and chef Simon Wong – spent a year researching the country’s diverse cuisines and regions. Inspired by their travels, the couple founded their first restaurant and crafted a menu that celebrates China’s culinary heritage in a contemporary context.

Obscura is set within the three-storey villa Tang Xiang Cultural Space. Embracing the age-old Chinese traditions of food, wine, tea and incense, Obscura presents elegant interpretations of classic Chinese flavours.

Tam’s refined techniques and immaculate presentation betray a background studying engineering. Innately curious about structural possibilities, the chef reveals her analytical style, disciplined precision and attention to detail in each dish.

Born in Hong Kong, Tam relocated with her family to Canada aged 10. After graduating high school, she pursued a degree in engineering. However, she decided to leave university and enrolled in the culinary program at George Brown College in Toronto and eventually earned a post-graduate degree in Italian cuisine. Tam remained in Toronto for several years working in a variety of restaurants before returning to Hong Kong in 2014 to embark on a new chapter of their respective careers.

In 2014, Tam began working at Bo Innovation under the tutelage of acclaimed ‘demon chef’ Alvin Leung, an iconic figure known for his bold interpretations of modern Chinese cuisine. Two years later, Leung appointed Tam and her husband Simon Wong as co-executive chefs to launch Bo Shanghai at Five on the Bund, a sister restaurant to the Hong Kong outlet.

Tam is the first female chef in Mainland China to earn a Michelin star when Bo Shanghai achieved that status in 2018.

Speaking of the honour of being named Asia’s Best Female Chef, Tam said: “This award marks a major milestone in my career. I am humbled that many industry leaders who I admire have followed my evolution in this industry. I hope to be able to inspire others to pursue their passion.”

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