Chef Andre Chiang closes Michelin-starred restaurant; gifts $11k to ice cream uncle who inspired dessert

Screengrab from CNA video
Screengrab from CNA video

In October last year, Taiwan-born chef Andre Chiang surprised the public by announcing that he was planning to shutter his two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Andre for good on Feb 14, 2018. Well, the day has come and gone, and the final few diners have had their last meals at the eatery.

But amidst the emotional goodbyes, Channel NewsAsia highlighted one heart-warming promise that Chiang fulfilled the day before his restaurant said its farewells. If you recall, back in May last year, CNA Insider released a video about the struggles of an 85-year-old pushcart ice cream uncle that promptly went viral.

Ng Teak Boon’s plight and his dedication to his work touched the hearts of many, including Chiang, who watched his story, met him in October, and got inspired to whip up his own atas rendition of the familiar roadside ice cream sandwich.

The dessert dish soon found its place on Restaurant Andre’s degustation menu as a tribute to Ng, and Chiang promised that every meal sold with it would see S$5 donated to the elderly man.

So on Feb 13, Chiang made the trip to Berseh Food Centre in Jalan Besar to gift Ng with a cheque for S$11,370, alongside a fruit basket and a note that said, “We are saddened that the ‘Ice-cream Uncle’ is gradually disappearing from our streets. We wish to show our support and play a small part in the preservation of this important tradition that has become iconic and essential to the Singapore landscape and culture.”

“It is our hope that you will be able to continue to spread the joy, and continue this important tradition and culture that is unique to Singapore,” Chiang added.

On Facebook, Restaurant Andre gave a shoutout today to the 2,274 guests who played a part in helping to raise the funds for Ng over the past few months.

As for what comes after the closure of his namesake restaurant, even though Chiang is moving back to Taiwan with his family, he mentioned in a press release that his team is conceptualizing “a new beginning” and hinted at a new project that would open at Restaurant Andre’s original location “towards the end of 2018”.

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