SINGAPORE: A Singapore chef with two Michelin stars has announced he wants to be stripped of the honour and will close his popular eatery, the latest restaurateur to walk away from the culinary distinction.
Foodies in the affluent city-state, home to one of Asia's best culinary scenes and packed with Michelin-starred restaurants, reacted with shock after learning of Andre Chiang's decision.
Taiwanese-born Chiang's restaurant "Andre", which offers experimental fare with roots in French cuisine, had won widespread praise since it opened seven years ago.
It is among seven restaurants in Singapore to have two of the coveted stars in the Michelin Guide to the city-state, which was first released in 2016.
Only one restaurant has the top honour of three stars, Joel Robuchon.
But Chiang said in a message on his website Wednesday the restaurant will serve customers for the final time on February 14.
The 41-year-old said that he did not want to be included in next year's Michelin Guide to Singapore.
He did not give a specific reason for his decision but suggested he wanted more time to work on other projects.
"I want to go back to where I started, I want to go back to cooking, have a balanced life and cook happily," he wrote.
After closing Andre, he said that he planned to research produce for a restaurant he runs in Taiwan and work on design projects.
The Singapore culinary world reacted with shock.
Veteran restaurateur Ignatius Chan said it was "Singapore's loss to lose such a talented chef", the Straits Times newspaper reported.
"He has been successful, and I'm proud of his achievements."
A handful of French restaurateurs have in the past walked away from the ultra-competitive world of Michelin-starred cooking.
Last month, a chef in southern France with three Michelin stars said he wanted to be stripped of the distinction because of the "huge pressure" of delivering flawless fare every day.