The Chairman, Hong Kong
Danny Yip is both a polymath and a free spirit, albeit one who never seeks the limelight or shouts about his myriad achievements. Born in Hong Kong, he has been hugely successful as a chef, as a restaurateur, as a food writer and as a tech entrepreneur at various stages of his long career.
For the last 15 years, he has focused primarily on making The Chairman, his flagship eatery in HK’s Central district, into the best possible version of itself. This has included moving premises in 2022 to a more stylish but still homely space; it has also meant that the restaurant has become the finest purveyor of innovative, reimagined Cantonese cuisine in the city and, for many, in the world.
Yip’s secret is simple: he never stops striving to improve – whether in terms of dish development, sourcing ingredients, culinary research and knowledge or the guest experience. The successful execution of such a philosophy is far from easy, of course, but Yip’s innate curiosity means he loves searching out the new and the different, while simultaneously respecting historic learnings and traditions.
The Chairman is rightly revered for its signature dishes, usually co-created by Yip’s long-time culinary collaborator, Kwok Keung Tung. The likes of the classic steamed flowery crab or the more recent Sichuan peppercorn-stewed oxtail (and their specific sauces) take months, sometimes years, of research and refinement to perfect, resulting in plates that are authentic, delicious and unique.
As a young man, Yip studied in Australia, where he found the Chinese food bland and diluted in flavour, prompting him to open his own restaurant with friends after graduating. It was the beginning of a journey that would see him successfully elevate the reputation of Chinese food internationally over more than three decades.
In 2021, The Chairman was the first and only Chinese restaurant (and first establishment in Hong Kong) to be named No.1 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. The same year it also entered the top 10 of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and it continues to feature on both rankings.
Yip, a deeply cultured and well-read individual (he owns over 1,000 cookbooks), has provided mentorship for many chefs across Asia. Furthermore, through his writing, his recipes and the hospitality at his restaurants, he has influenced and brought pleasure to home cooks and diners from near and far. Bestowing the Icon Award on him is the least that should be done in return.
Now read the article and watch the video with Danny Yip:
The Icon Award is voted for by the 300-plus members of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy and honours culinary icons who have made an outstanding contribution to the restaurant industry.