Chef Kirk Westaway presents nature’s finest through a harmonious interplay of quality ingredients at JAAN. The pure simplicity of Chef Kirk’s creations belie the many layered intricacies that go into crafting them. He adds a dramatic touch to the fine dining experience at JAAN with his bold yet elegant combination of flavours and textures, as well as refined techniques and artful plating. Though informed by his British heritage, he is profoundly influenced by the renowned chefs who have mentored him in the artistry of French cuisine. This results in creations that articulate the familiar tastes of European cuisine, but are elevated and transformed into new classics which evoke a sense of nostalgia and awake long forgotten memories.
“I believe food should always be comforting and emotive, whether at an award-winning restaurant or a humble meal at home,” says JAAN Chef de Cuisine Kirk Westaway. “What I have discovered is that beyond beautiful presentation and complex techniques, the dishes which embody comfort are the ones which strike an emotional chord and resonate most with guests. These are the dishes they remember long after the meal.”
Born and raised in Devon, the idyllic seaside town on the Southwest Coast of England, Chef Kirk has over a decade of international culinary experience. Having been Sous Chef at JAAN, he possesses a deep understanding of JAAN’s philosophy of produce-driven artisanal cuisine, which gives an edge to his role as Chef de Cuisine today. This appreciation for produce can also be traced back to his upbringing. As a young boy, Chef Kirk was constantly surrounded by Devon’s abundant bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as some of the United Kingdom’s best dairy farms.
Notably, during his tenure as Sous Chef, Chef Kirk emerged the winner of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 for Southeast Asia. He was additionally given the opportunity to work alongside the talented culinary brigades of several well-known establishments such as the three Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood in California, and the highly-acclaimed Daniel by Chef Daniel Boulud in New York City.
Of his time at Restaurant at Meadowood, Chef Kirk found inspiration in Chef Christopher Kostow’s passion for the highest level of hyper-seasonality, reflected by the restaurant’s constantly evolving menu. He also took away with him the importance of honesty in the form of always offering guests sustainable produce whenever possible.
Prior to JAAN, he had the privilege to work and hone his culinary skills in some of the best kitchens in the world under chefs such as Chef Alex Atala of D.O.M in Sao Paulo Brazil. Chef Raymond Patterson of Patterson’s London, as well as Chef Antonin Bonnet who formerly helmed the two Michelin-starred Greenhouse in London. He cites Chef Raymond Patterson as the mentor who formed his culinary foundation. He took Chef Kirk under his wing immediately after he graduated from culinary college.
As Chef de Partie at D.O.M., Chef Kirk was able to experience first-hand the creative force that is Chef Alex Atala. The advocate for all things grown and produced in Brazil taught him to embrace experimentation and innovation. In addition to learning about a new variety of ingredients, he discovered that a good chef is one who also forms close relationships with producers and farmers to work in tandem with them.
His time with Chef Antonin Bonnet added to his views on ingredients. Chef Antonin taught him that the true expression of respect for an ingredient meant exploring ways to utilise every component of it, creating a place in the dish for every part of the ingredient.
“My varied culinary experiences and travels have come together and culminated with my role at JAAN,” says Chef Kirk. “I never imagined my love for produce, which first took seed when I was a child growing organic fruits and vegetables in our family’s backyard, has translated into a career. It has been an amazing opportunity to work with incredibly fresh produce and devoting myself to capturing on a plate that moment where the ingredient is at its very finest.” Last year winning a Michelin Star, Chef Kirk now stays focused on raising the standards of JAAN restaurant to its full potential.