The winner of 2017’s Best New Chef award tells us about how the spirit of cha chaan teng and milk tea have inspired his cooking

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This year’s best new chef, as voted by our editorial panel, has breathed new life into Gaddi’s at The Peninsula. Xavier Boyer arrived in our city at the beginning of 2016, after stints at Robuchon restaurants worldwide, and has impressed us with his sophisticated sense of culinary style. For our video, we caught up with the chef over milk tea and Hong Kong-style french toast at Mido, a classic Kowloon cha chaan teng.

"The first thing I did when I arrived here was eat at other restaurants,” says Boyer. “Mainly local ones, to embrace the culture—to know exactly where I’m stepping in. It’s important to know the taste, the flavour. This way, you can choose your way to cook."

"The first thing I did when I arrived here was eat at other restaurants—mainly local ones, to embrace the culture."—Xavier Boyer

The creaminess of a cup of milk tea was what inspired Boyer to incorporate the drink into a dish that brought together his international outlook with a distinctly local flavour. It’s not the first time the chef has used tea in his dishes—he has once paired earl grey with carrot, and this time he married milk tea with seasonal pumpkin for a sweet sauce to go with pumpkin tortellini and seared scallops.

“You have the milk tea representing Hong Kong, and the tortellini is Italian. The scallops are from Brittany and the sea urchin from Japan. It’s like Hong Kong, where you have influences from everywhere. It’s European, Asian—they meet together in Hong Kong.”

Gaddi's, 1/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong; +852 2696 6763

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