It’s not every day that a respected and discerning professional critic calls someone a genius, so it was incredibly thrilling to hear that this past Friday, a close friend was described as such by none other than the International Herald Tribune’s food writer Patricia Wells. The friend in question is Singaporean chef Jereme Leung, who helms the kitchens of the Whampoa Club, in the 3 on the Bund complex, in Shanghai.

In an article titled “Cutting-edge delights of the ‘new’ Shanghai”, that ran in the 13 May 2005 edition, Wells writes:

“It’s been a long time since I got up from the table after dining in a restaurant and whispered to myself, ‘genius.’ … If there are revolutions in contemporary Chinese cooking, then it is the gifted, ambitious chefs such as Leung who will serve as the leaders. His food is not fusion, it is not confusion, it is not all about avocados and papayas with raw tuna. It’s good, honest, Chinese fare that’s been given a face-lift, an update, a new look with no sacrifice in flavor. In fact, it’s more like an upgrade to first class.”

Getting this kind of accolade from a critic like Wells—friend, collaborator, and judge of some of the world’s greatest chefs—is no mean feat. (Unlike critics in a place like Singapore, her meals are neither free nor are they eaten in the company of a restaurant’s public relations staff.) She’s considered one of the world’s best herself. So when she names Jereme a genius, you can bet the culinary world is sitting up and taking note.

Hopefully, the Singapore government is also taking note. There have been several recent articles in the local press here (the most recent in this past Saturday’s Business Times) investigating the current culinary environment and advocating for more and better attention and resources for our chefs, whether they live here or overseas. I’ve also previously written, in this blog, of my own belief that we need to do much, much more to help our chefs and at the same time help our country develop its culinary scene and culture.

That said, in the interest of brevity, I’m going to end here (before I start rambling on and on with my ideas for a Singapore Culinary Arts Council) with a simple message to Jereme. “CONGRATULATIONS! You very much deserve every compliment you get.”

Read the Full Article Here
Jereme’s website

p.s. For readers who can’t get to Shanghai, Jereme will soon be launching his first cookbook, titled New Shanghai Cuisine. Published by Marshall Cavendish, it should be in stores by August this year. (I should probably come clean and admit that my lovely wife helped Jereme write the book, so I’m once again shamelessly promoting her and her work.)

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his three kids!


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15 May 2005



i was in shanghai last year and we were debating whether to visit jean georges or whampoa club (because we couldnt afford to dine at both), and we chose the former in the end. wish we’d tried whampoa club as well though, especially after reading rave reviews like these. 🙁 i was practically drooling at the end of the article.

anyway, isnt it cool that of the 4 restaurants mentioned, 3 are singapore-related? (i think?)

I was in Shanghai last December and ate at Whampoa Club as well as Jean Georges.

JG was quite a let-down but their desserts were lovely, very creative, all delicious.

Whampoa Club was way better, especially the modern interpretation of traditional Shanghainese dishes like the cod in a spring onion sauce and liang fen appetiser. The prawns in wasabi sauce mentioned in the article was my least favourite dish because I forgot to mention to Jereme that I don’t like wasabi. (Did go on and on about the meal in my blog – ref December archives).

Crystal Jade in Shanghai- thought I would go only as a last resort since there are many other good Cantonese restaurants in the city.


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