Asia’s Best Pastry Chef 2016, sponsored by Cacao Barry

Singapore’s Queen of tarts blends French technique with peerless ingredients

Cheryl Koh

Tarte and Les Amis, Singapore

Singapore’s Queen of tarts blends French technique with peerless ingredients

Tucked away on a side street a few moments away from Singapore’s frenetic Orchard Road is Tarte. Opened mid last year, the concept is as straight-forward as its moniker suggests: a small selection of tarts are baked from scratch each morning using the best fruits of the season, perhaps French gariguette strawberries or Indian Alphonso mangoes. The sleek, borderline clinical interior is nearly completely bare, drawing the eye to a marbled vitrine that showcases the tarts, each one a work of art in its own right. 

The celebrated chef behind this strikingly minimalistic concept is Cheryl Koh. The 36-year-old pastry specialist is well-known for the stunning, cutting-edge desserts she creates at the famed Les Amis a few steps down the road but Tarte – a joint venture with Les Amis Group – has achieved cult status and cemented her position as one of Singapore’s hottest dessert chefs. 

Born in Singapore, Koh completed a degree in Geography and European Studies before beginning her culinary career at Raffles Hotel. But, as one might expect from the daughter a travel agent mother and aircraft engineer father, she soon jetted off to refine her craft. The first stop was Paris, where she worked at the highly-rated Lassere, a toque’s throw from the Champs-Élysées. 

Several years later, and after numerous posts in glamorous restaurants around the world,  she decided to specialise in pastry, landing a job with Les Amis Group executive chef Sebastien Lepinoy at Cépage – the group’s first overseas venture in Hong Kong – in 2010. She made an immediate impression and was promoted to running the restaurant’s pastry section and, a little later, was put in charge of the dessert and bread making operation at the group’s Singapore flagship.

Must-try dishes at Les Amis include whole candied mikan with panna cotta with Earl Grey jelly as well as chocolate mille-feuille made with cocoa puff pastry and Alunga milk chocolate ganache. Her restaurant desserts – and indeed her tarts – display a mastery of classic French technique paired with a willingness to experiment with more modern approaches and Asian flavours. Success never tasted so sweet. 

1 Scotts Road
Shaw Centre #01-12
Singapore 228208
+65 6235 3225

Les Amis
1 Scotts Road
Shaw Centre #01-16
Singapore 228208
+65 6733 2225
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  • 2am: Dessert Bar, Singapore

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