Filipina Chef Johanne Siy, head chef of Lolla in Singapore’s Ann Siang Hill, is crowned Female Chef of the Year 2021 at the World Gourmet Awards.

Johanne Siy’s culinary journey has whisked her around the world, from her hometown Dagupan, to the United States, Scandinavia, and finally, Singapore, where she flourishes as the head chef of Lolla in Ann Siang Hill.

This year, the World Gourmet Awards (WGA), which celebrates the remarkable contributions of key individuals and organisations in Singapore’s hospitality industry, named the Filipina talent the MKN Female Chef of the Year. With this prestigious award, the WGA applauds her skilful kitchen operations and astounding achievements in the culinary arts that raise the standards of fine dining excellence.

Read more: Taste Of Home - What Does Chef Johanne Siy Miss About The Philippines

1. Calls Dagupan her hometown

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Although chasing her passions has turned the chef into quite the globetrotter, Johanne’s love for food remains deeply rooted in Dagupan - her hometown. In an interview with Tatler earlier this year, she recalled fond memories at restaurants Dagupeña and Matutinas in Pangasinan.

2. Started off in a corporate job

Before entering the culinary world, Johanne worked as a brand-builder for a major multinational corporation, Procter & Gamble. After she left the company she went to the Culinary Institute of America to pursue her passion: food. 

Read more: What Do Chefs Like To Eat Bagoong With?

3. Boasts an incredible resume

Since leaving her corporate position, Johanne has wasted no time learning from the best of the best.  After enrolling at the Culinary Institute of America, she worked as Chef de Partie at Café Boulud and Le Bernardin, granting her invaluable tutelage from legendary chefs Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert. Johanne then joined Restaurant André in Singapore, where she helped the restaurant achieve its highest ranking (No. 2) in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 and earn two Michelin stars in the same year. Before her current post as head chef of Lolla, Johanne also spent some time in notable Scandinavian establishments, including René Redzepi’s Noma.

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4. Champions produce-driven cuisine

Recounting her earlier days in the industry with Yahoo Lifestyle SEA, Johanne divulged some of her frustrations - “it was a time when technique was everything...It got to a point where it was a technique for the sake of technique. Provenance and integrity of ingredients became secondary”.

However, with years of added experience and a global perspective, Johanne “developed a profound appreciation and deep respect for producers in their unwavering commitment to quality” and puts produce at the center of her craft. To her, produce-driven cuisine is vital. Through her cooking she aims to let ingredients speak for themselves, captivating diners through flavour. 

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5. Keeps a keen eye on the Philippine dining scene

Though based in Singapore, Johanne has her ear to the ground on developments in the Philippine restaurant industry. “My favourites are the ones elevating Filipino food to the global stage with their modern and innovative take on our cuisine—Gallery by Chele and Toyo Eatery by Chef Jordy Navarra will always be on my list”, she shared with Tatler.

Read more: This Is Why Chef Jordy and May Navarra Are So Successful 

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