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Danny Yip Wins Asia’s Best Restaurants Icon Award 2024

The creator of the legendary Hong Kong restaurant The Chairman is awarded for his efforts in showcasing traditional Cantonese cuisine on the global stage.

At its best, traditional Cantonese cuisine showcases the flavors of great produce and ingredients, typically without the requirement of elaborate sauces or cooking methods.

Yet Cantonese food, as the source of the hybrid cuisine created by diaspora Chinese cooks in America and elsewhere, the vast majority of whom came from the Cantonese-speaking south, has suffered widely from misperceptions.

One of the restaurants doing most to highlight the qualities of traditional Cantonese cooking is The Chairman in Hong Kong.

And its efforts were recognized at the end of February when Danny Yip, chef and creator of the venue, was awarded the Icon Award – Asia 2024 honor: the latest pre-announced award from Asia’s Best Restaurants 2024.

Voted for by the 318 members of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, this accolade celebrates individuals who have made significant contributions to gastronomy worthy of global recognition and who use their platform to drive positive change.

Yip can be credited with changing how Cantonese cuisine is perceived on the world stage. Under his leadership, The Chairman in Hong Kong became the first Chinese restaurant to be crowned No.1 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2021.

In the same year, it also became the first Chinese restaurant to reach the top 10 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking while earning the Highest Climber Award—a remarkable achievement for a family-style Cantonese establishment offering an alternative to elaborate tasting menus.

Established by Yip in 2009, The Chairman is widely praised as a trailblazer in the realm of fine Chinese cuisine in Asia, consistently garnering notable recognition for its culinary excellence and tireless emphasis on reworking tradition.

The restaurant, which relocated to its current address in Hong Kong’s Central neighbourhood in 2022, is a highly sought-after reservation in the city and enjoys a devoted cult following.

Yip has not only pioneered the concept of urban farming for Hong Kong restaurants but has also emerged as a staunch advocate for local artisans and producers. He stands as an inspirational figure for chefs in the region dedicated to advancing their cuisines.

The Chairman highlights Yip’s unwavering commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and emphasising simplicity and freshness. This resolve extends to acquiring the freshest catch from the local markets daily via his in-house team of retired fishers and securing the finest bean curd sheets from Hong Kong institution Shu Kee. He also maintains a small, organic farm on the city’s outskirts where the team cures meat and pickles vegetables for the restaurant.

 “Danny stands as a breath of fresh air in his commitment to his craft, in valuing tradition at the same time as embracing innovation,” said William Drew, Director of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Leading The Chairman for the past 14 years, he and his team deliver the epitome of authentic Cantonese cuisine. It’s an iconic establishment and Danny is a true icon of his industry.”

Yip himself expressed delight at the accolade. “I am extremely fortunate to have an exceptional and stable team, both in the kitchen and at the front,” he enthused.

“The majority of them have been with us since we opened or for more than 10 years. Alone I can do so little, together we can do so much. This award is a tremendous honour, not just for me but also for The Chairman team. It serves as a motivator, consistently reminding us of the greater heights we can reach in the days ahead.”