DeAille Tam of Shanghai's Obscura Named Female Chef of 2021

By Sophie Steiner, February 25, 2021

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DeAille Tam, executive chef of one of Shanghai’s newest and hottest restaurants, Obscura, has just been named Asia’s Best Female Chef of 2021. The award was voted on by more than 300 industry experts spread out across the continent, who also put together the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants each year. That list will be announced on March 25. 


William Drew, Director of Content at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, said, “The Asia’s Best Female Chef Award, sponsored by Cinco Jotas, honors female chefs whose artistry, skills and commitment push the creative boundaries of gastronomy. DeAille Tam is an enterprising cook whose creative flair, progressive approach and deep understanding of China’s culinary traditions is inspiring the next generation.” 

Tam was born in Hong Kong, but moved with her family to Canada when she was 10. During college, while studying engineering, she fell in love with cooking and decided to leave university to pursue her culinary passion. WechatIMG1313.jpeg

She went on to earn a post-graduate degree in Italian cuisine from the George Brown College culinary program in Toronto. After meeting her also Hong Kong-native husband in Toronto, the couple moved to Hong Kong in 2014. 

In Hong Kong, Tam worked at the famous Bo Innovation under chef Alvin Leung. She was later appointed co-executive chef, along with her husband, to launch Bo Shanghai at Five on the Bund, where the two incorporated elements from the eight regional cuisines in China. 


When that closed, Tam and her husband, Wong, spent a year traveling China and researching the country’s diverse cuisines. Pulling on inspiration from their travels, they founded their first restaurant, Obscura, which honors China’s culinary heritage in a modern setting. 


After receiving the award, Tam said, “This award marks a major milestone in my career. I am humbled that many industry leaders who I admire have followed my evolution in this industry. I hope to be able to inspire others to pursue their passion.” 

Previous recipients of the Asia’s Best Female Chef award include: Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava (2013), Lanshu Chen (2014), Vicky Lau (2015), Margarita Forés (2016), May Chow (2017), Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun (2018), Garima Arora (2019) and Cho Hee-sook (2020). 

See a listing for Obscura.

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