After a lifetime pursuing culinary perfection and garnering every major accolade in the industry, the Taiwanese-born chef André Chiang decided to shut his restaurant, return his Michelin stars and pursue the essence of life. The cameras were rolling all along as the chef disbanded his team and drew the shutters down on an Asian culinary institution.
Directed by 32-year-old Singaporean film-maker Josiah Ng, ‘André and his Olive Tree’, is a film that follows the whole process of closing the famed restaurant André, from announcing his retirement to his team to winding things down. The film which premiered in Taiwan on 21st of August, has been a great success on the festival circuit, gaining critical acclaim as well as a solid showing of more than NT$10 million (S$470,000) at the box office.
André Chiang trained under Michel Troisgros, Alain Ducasse, and Pierre Gagnaire in France before opening his eponymous restaurant in 2010. The chef became famous for his 'Octaphilosophy' approach to cooking, designing dishes around eight core elements: Pure, Salt, Artisan, Texture, South, Unique, Memory, and Terroir.
On his decision to close his restaurant, Chiang told Fine Dining Lovers; "I was born in Taiwan and have spent the past 30 years cooking, since I was 13. I feel there’s a part missing – I don’t know much about Asia. I hope I will now have more time to understand my own homeland’s produce and culture, and make Asia proud. Asia shouldn’t only have one André, it should have hundreds of them. Why is there only one Chinese chef on the World’s 50 Best list? There should be more talent and great restaurants. I hope I can pass on my knowledge and do something more for China and Taiwan. I feel I have a responsibility rather than something to prove. Restaurant André has nothing to prove."