Malaysian Kwen Liew and her Japanese husband Ryunosuke Naito, who co-own Pertinence Restaurant in Paris, have been awarded a Michelin star
According to The Star, the Michelin Guide France posted on its website on 7 March describing the couple's achievement as a "beautiful story of two Asian chefs getting their first Michelin star."
Their business joined 56 other new restaurants that were added to the 2018 Michelin Guide France, making up a total of 621 Michelin-starred restaurants in the country.
Kwen told SAYS that she left Malaysia when she was 20-years-old. After living in Australia and Thailand, she decided to get a Diplôme of Pastry in Singapore as it was closer to her family in KL and Ipoh.
Three years ago, she finally took the plunge and moved to Paris.
A mere seven months after opening their restaurant, the couple were awarded a Michelin Star for their interpretations of French cuisine
Located in Paris, Pertinence Restaurant opened its doors in March 2017 and quickly won over critics with its delicious food and service.
Boasting a gourmet menu that includes pan seared foie gras and Iberico pork pluma, Kwen and Ryunosuke offer classical French cuisine prepared with a twist through Japanese techniques.
The Michelin Guide added that the chefs, "carefully and expertly transforms market-fresh ingredients into succulent classical French dishes, brushing away the cobwebs of tradition along the way."
Kwen is believed to be the first female Malaysian chef to win a Michelin star, a hallmark in fine dining quality
Established in 1900, the Michelin Guide awards restaurants based on a three-star model: the first star indicates a very good restaurant, a second star awarded would mean that it has "excellent cooking, worth a detour", and the third star demonstrates that the food served has "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey."
Being a female Michelin-starred chef is quite an impressive feat, as Agence France-Presse reported that women barely make up 5% of all the Michelin-starred chefs worldwide
Kwen, who is one out of only two women awarded with their first star in the 2018 guide, told the news agency that women always had to prove that they were twice as good as men to get their team of chef’s 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 explained.
Kwen said she solved the problem by acting like a man when working in the kitchen.