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Michelin-Starred Masters: 4 Chefs Fusing Flavors and Cultures

Article by Jeff Ficker 07.25.2017

Unencumbered by traditional culinary borders, these imaginative chefs are dazzling diners with cooking that blends global influences.

Every year, the discerning palates of the Michelin Guide visit establishments of every stripe, from white-tablecloth, haute cuisine institutions to eateries just beginning to gain attention. Although traditional food served in a traditional setting is often honored, this year a small group of restaurants changed that trend. These starred winners celebrate chefs who fuse traditions across cultures.

1. Pino Lavarra: Giving Italian traditions a subtle Asian twist

Tosca at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

Chef Pino Lavarra is the mastermind behind Tosca at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, one of the city’s most well-regarded Italian restaurants. Lavarra specializes in the satisfying cuisine of Southern Italy, where he grew up. In a small village in Puglia, his mother passed along traditions and a passion for food. By the age of 14, he had already begun professional training. Today, he brings a modern touch to the cooking of his childhood, introducing Hong Kong to entirely new flavors. Standout dishes include homemade spaghetti alla chitarra that incorporates basil chlorophyll and charcoal crust wagyu tenderloin, and is served alongside radicchio, walnut, and crispy mustard. “To me, every dish is a piece of art,” Chef Lavarra says. “Sea Tiramisu, our signature dish, is the best example. It is an innovative appetizer that uses seafood soup foam and plankton to imitate tiramisu.”

2. Shintaro Miyazaki: French cuisine inspired by Japanese sensibilities

Azure 45 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

Chef de Cuisine Shintaro Miyazaki guides diners along a journey of upscale nouveau French dining at Azure 45 on the 45th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, in a city where more Michelin stars shine than in any other in the world. Miyazaki and his dedicated team employ specialty ingredients from the best sources on the planet, including AOC Kintoa pork from Spanish Basque Country, celebrated Bazas beef from southwestern France, and, more locally, fresh wild catches from the northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido. Miyazaki got his start as a patissier, and his attention to detail is evident in each artfully prepared dish, such as his carefully arranged foie gras sandwich petits fours, and tender suckling veal perfectly doused with au jus.

3. Daniel Franco: Infusing Japanese dishes with Latin flair

Kabuki at The Ritz-Carlton, Abama

At The Ritz-Carlton, Abama in Spain’s Canary Islands, guests can enjoy a wide range of carefully prepared Japanese cuisine at Kabuki. Executive Chef Daniel Franco serves sushi, yakitori and tempura dishes with Latin influences in a relaxed, oceanfront setting. Thin slices of white fish sashimi are accompanied by bright mojo verde salsa. Exceptional Spanish pork is grilled with sweet yakiniku Japanese barbecue sauce. And langoustines and other premium seafood are crisped up into light and satisfying bites of tempura. Options are the main dining room, the Sushi Bar or the Kabuki Space, a private dining concept that offers personalized bites prepared with a performance in the style of Kabuki theater.

4. Fu Man Piu: Cantonese cuisine through cosmopolitan Asian lens

Lai Heen at The Ritz-Carlton, Macau

At Lai Heen, Chef Fu Man Piu serves handcrafted Cantonese dishes in a handsome, elegant setting on the 51st floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Macau — making it the highest Chinese restaurant in the city. Before joining Lai Heen, Fu was awarded two Michelin stars at Tin Lung Heen, an haute Cantonese restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. At Lai Heen, he brings the same sophistication to his degustation tasting menu, which highlights exceptional, fresh seafood. Beautiful steamed Japanese prawns are topped with white caviar, and scallops are simply seared and served with fried rice. All of the thoughtful and restrained dishes are at once understated but unforgettable, a trademark of every Ritz-Carlton culinary experience.

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