Chef André Chiang's cookbook, Octaphilosophy, plays out like a piece of performance art. The stage? His kitchen. Where every dish created within the past year has been fastidiously documented on paper and pixels. For a kitchen that's used to innovating on the fly, having to draw up recipes and photograph dishes every weekend is almost counterintuitive to the way they work. Chiang eventually submitted 650 photos to his editors at Phaidon, giving them the arduous task of whittling down the selection to accompany the 150 recipes within.
Even though Octaphilosophy sits under the food section of Phaidon's ever-growing catalogue, Chiang doesn't classify it as a cookbook. "This is [Restaurant] André in 365 days," he says. Think of the tome as a "creative tool-book", one that allows the reader to draw inspiration from recipes, be it new ways to transform produce or experiments in plating.
Chiang's perfectionist streak also carries over from the pass to the page. "I want everything to be perfect, down to the colour of the green and thickness of the paper," he shares. "Even how the ink sinks into the paper matters to me. Someone is going to pick up the book 10 years later and I want it to inspire him the way Michel Bras' cookbook inspires me."
While other chefs might invite their mentors to pen a forward for their books, Chiang has given this honourable task to his mother. She doesn't wax lyrical about his cooking, choosing instead to pen a letter from a mother to a son.
Below, a peek at the pages within, featuring dishes beautifully shot by Edmond Ho, one of Singapore's top food photographers.
For more information, visit Phaidon.