Malaysian girl awarded Michelin star for Paris restaurant

Kwen Liew is the first Malaysian chef to win the coveted accolade.

(Photo: Pertinence Restaurant)

Ipoh made headlines last month when New York Times released an article on why ‘the town that tin built’ should be on everyone’s travel radar. And here’s another news worth celebrating: Kuala Lumpur-born Kwen Liew, whose parents are from Ipoh, is the first female Malaysian chef to receive a Michelin star for her restaurant in Paris.

Liew and her Japanese husband Ryunosuke Naito, who both co-own Pertinence Restaurant where ‘French cuisine is adorned with Japanese technique’, were awarded their first star in the 2018 Michelin Guide France. Michelin has described the couple’s food as “carefully and expertly transforming market-fresh ingredients into succulent French dishes, brushing away the cobwebs of tradition along the way.”

French cuisine meets Japanese elegance. (Photo: Pertinence Restaurant)

Recognition for female chefs in haute cuisine is long overdue as women remain a minority in a highly male-dominated field, holding less than 5% of Michelin stars globally. Liew told wire agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) in an interview that women always need to prove that they’re twice as good as men to get their team to listen to them.

“It depends on the mentality of the personnel, but (in general) men do not listen to women: they say, ‘We don’t give a damn what she says’,” she was quoted as saying, as reported by The South China Morning Post.

Having just opened its doors in March 2017, Pertinence has already wooed food critics and customers with its stellar service and exciting menu, which includes dishes such as Iberian pluma, Racan chicken in fricassee, veal sweetbread pie with foie gras and the Chocolat Inaya with black truffle dessert.  


Correction: An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that Liew is Ipoh-born. 

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