MACAO -- Those who have not followed the boom in Asian fine dining might have missed the rise of Julian Royer. In an era of superstar celebrity chefs, Royer -- a boyish-looking Frenchman in his mid-30s -- may seem an outlier, more traditionalist than modern showman. But in late March, this perfectionist of fine French cuisine took top honors at Asia's 50 Best Restaurants awards in Macao for his Odette restaurant in Singapore.
It was the first time in five years the top award did not go to gastronomic genius Gaggan Anand of Bangkok. His two-Michelin star Gaggan placed second. It was also the first time in six years that a Bangkok restaurant failed to take the top slot.