Fab Five: A Closer Look At The World’s Gastronomic Rockstars

The food scene was abuzz about the five Michelin-starred chefs who came to Manila last March for a resort’s 10th anniversary celebration.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s June 2023 Issue.

Get to know more about these talented chefs who have rocked the world of gastronomy. 

Italian chef Enrico Bartolini has been awarded more Michelin stars for his restaurants around Italy. He is the only chef in the history of the Michelin Guide to have been awarded four stars at the same time. 

Born in 1979 from Castelmartini in the province of Pistoia in Tuscany, he developed a passion for food and haute cuisine which led him to pursue learning from great culinary masters, working with Paolo Petrini in Paris and the Commonwealth Club in London with Mark Page as Head Chef. At age 29, under the guidance of Massimiliano Alajmo and in the management of Le Robinie restaurant in Oltrepò Pavese, Bartolini received his first Michelin Star. In 2010, he left Oltrepò to take over the Devero Ristorante and the Dodici 24 Quick Restaurant in Cavenago Brianza outside Milan. This is where he was awarded his second Michelin star at age 33. 

READ ALSO: A Culinary Spectacle: The Five-Star Michelin Event Of A Lifetime

Enrico Bartolini

In April 2016, he moved to Milan and opened Ristorante Enrico Bartolini on the third floor of the MUDEC. At the same time, he opened the Casual Ristorante in Bergamo and took over the reins of the kitchens at L’Andana–the exclusive resort at Castiglione della Pescaia. He also took charge of both the La Villa restaurant and the Trattoria Toscana, which was renamed La Trattoria Enrico Bartolini. That September, he opened Ristorante Glam in the luxury hotel Palazzo Venart. It is the only restaurant in Venice with 2 Michelin stars. In November of the same year, Bartolini conquered the Italian gastronomic world when he was awarded four Michelin stars at once, two in Milan, one in Bergamo, and one in Castiglione della Pescaia. The recognition becomes even more significant given that the three award-winning restaurants opened almost exactly at the same time! 

Bartolini’s other restaurants include Locanda del Sant’Uffizio, Relais Sant’Uffizio, Cioccaro di Penango, Anima Ristorante, Hotel Milano Verticale|UNA Esperienze in Milan, Il Fuoco Sacro, Petra Segreta Resort & Spa, San Pantaleo in Olbia in Sardinia, and I Poggio Rosso, Borgo San Felice Relais & Chateaux, Castelnuovo Berardenga in Chianti. 

The chef who quipped, “Loving life is also about loving to eat,” has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest chefs in the world at such an early age.

Culinary sensation Tohru Nakamura brings his European and Japanese heritage to the table with his distinct and memorable dishes that garnered him two Michelin Stars for his restaurant Schreiberei in Munich, Germany. 

Tohru Nakamura

He is half German and half Japanese and he said “I like to remember that my parents have always placed great emphasis on celebrating meals together. My parents’ upbringing made me want to be a chef. They taught me culinary values that are an essential and important part of our culture” and his unique way of combining Japanese and European approaches or ingredients have made his food unique and sought after. 

His culinary artistry combines creativity, precise craftsmanship, and an eye for aesthetics that has put his name synonymous to cosmopolitan cuisine. He employs an unmistakable style to his creations in which quality of only the best produce and regional ingredients play significant roles to highlight Japanese influences infused in his dishes.

Part of his culinary intuition is his belief that too many flavors and textures can confuse the guest’s palate so he focuses on a well-balanced play of components that stand out, making his dishes memorable. 

Nakamura is quite a celebrity in Germany, having competed in German cooking shows such as “Knife Fight Club”, “Kitchen Impossible”, and “Ready to Beef” and has also been a judge on “The Taste.” 

German gastronomy superstar René Frank, owner of two-Michelin Star dessert restaurant CODA in Berlin, reinterprets the world of desserts and transforms it into an incredibly distinctive discovery for the palate.

The 2022 World’s Pastry Chef of the Year is known for his innovative and progressive experimentation without any refined sugars in all his creations and instead focuses on natural sweetness by favoring high-quality, sustainable, and organic products to ensure the integrity of his culinary visions. 

René Frank

Apart from his inventive approach and revolutionary take on desserts, he is also known for his firm self-sufficiency and “bean-to-bar” concept to ensure that he and his team achieve consistency and the standards that they employ for the best chocolate in his restaurant. His team prepares fresh chocolate by hand daily. He creates Coda’s dishes with his philosophy that “desserts are more than just the final course, they can be a nourishing meal in their own right”.

After completing his culinary training, Frank worked his way up to head pastry chef at La Vie in Osnabrück, before opening his own dessert-led venue Coda where he served contemporary dishes inspired by pastries around the world. Coda offers a dessert-only tasting menu that is not all about sweetness.

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia June 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Photos courtesy of Solaire.

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