Chef Andrew Yeo on Inspiration, Artisan Bistro, and Oysters
In Boston, there are chefs who have dabbled with both seafood and barbecue but none has ever tried the fantastically delicious combination that chef Andrew Yeo has created at Artisan Bistro — grilled oysters with rosemary brown butter. As executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common, Yeo has not only designed, but perfected a recipe that is sure to have Bostonians, and travelers alike, lining up for more.
Chef Andrew assumed his new role as executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common just a few short months ago, coming to town from The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando Grande Lakes. While working at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, Yeo competed against other chefs for the Singapore Chaîne de Rôtisseurs and was awarded Outstanding Young Chef. In the U.S., he was responsible for the entire food and beverage culinary operation for The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort of Naples prior moving to Orlando. We chatted with the chef recently to discuss his inspiration in the kitchen, his must-have ingredient in every kitchen, and how he came up with the idea for his famed grilled oysters.
JustLuxe: When did you first become interested in food?
Andrew Yeo: I was influenced by my grandmother who was the only one in the house who was a great cook. I used to love to watch her bake. Throughout high school and college, my schoolmates always said I should be a chef. I then went on to culinary school in Singapore.
JL: Who or what has been your inspiration for cooking?
AY: I had a strong mentor at the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore, Benton Toh, who is now the senior executive sous chef at the property. While in Singapore, I participated in a competition and won an "Outstanding Chef" award in 2003. I later moved to Florida and worked in Naples and Orlando and when I was given the chance to come to Boston, I was delighted.
JL: How would you describe your cooking style?
AY: My definition of cooking is where food and art come together. The passion of cooking is bringing flavors together but the art is for a chef to create different presentations of food with flavors and colors.
JL: How did you come up with the recipe for grilled oysters?
AY: I have never stayed in a cold area so that was one of my first challenges coming to Boston in October. I wanted to create a menu that was designed for the colder months. The grilled oyster recipe with rosemary brown butter uses really simple ingredients and focuses on freshness and we carry only Massachusetts oysters. We’re the only one in Boston who offers this recipe. I really love Boston and want to continue to create more unique dishes using fresh seafood, which is what Boston is so well known for.
JL: What is your signature dish at Artisan Bistro?
AY: The grilled oysters are such a simple dish and there has been such a surprising demand for it. Another dish that is really popular is the Georges Bank cod that uses local fish and clams. This dish is all about Boston and gets great flavor from the sauce.
JL: What is your most favorite dish to prepare?
AY: A dish that is simple and flavorful like braised short rib with a touch of Asian ingredients like lemon grass and ginger.
JL: Do you have any tips for the novice chef or at-home cook?
AY: You have to love to cook. We chefs really enjoy cooking and I personally enjoy watching people enjoying my food. In the dining room, I am always checking in with guests to learn their feedback and ensure they are having a great experience.
JL: What is your must-have ingredient in the kitchen?
AY: Egg has the most character in cooking. For breakfast to start our day, we use the yolk to make dressing, whites for baking and use eggs in almost every dish, including pasta. The folds in a chef’s hat represent the number of ways he knows how to cook an egg and I have 101 folds.
JL: Is there a dish on your current menu that will follow you to every kitchen?
AY: The grilled oysters will definitely be on the menu because it’s such a simple yet flavorful dish. I have had customers say to me that no matter what you do to the menu changing it seasonally, don’t take the grilled oysters away!
JL: What is the one dish you would love to eat year-round?
AY: Because I come from Singapore, I love Singapore Chili Crab, which is a very unique recipe that combines the flavor of crab, chile pepper, ginger with the simple taste of ketchup (which I think is the secret ingredient).
The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common has been a staple of luxury and excellence in the city for the past decade and with its recent makeover, newly transformed restaurant, and award-winning chef at the helm, this upscale downtown property is uniquely poised to become one of the best in town. For more information, visit RitzCarlton.com.
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