May Chow, chef and owner of Little Bao in Hong Kong and a newly-opened branch in Bangkok, has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017. The prestigious award is part of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants programme, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.
Chow will formally accept her award at the fifth annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony on 21st February, 2017 at the W Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. Asia’s Best Female Chef Award is voted for by over 300 industry experts from across the region who also create the annual list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Born in Canada, Chow spent her childhood in Hong Kong and the US. After graduating with a degree in hotel management from Boston University, she returned to Hong Kong in 2008 where she honed her culinary skills at such celebrated establishments as Bo Innovation and Yardbird, restaurants known for their innovative spin on Asian cuisines.
Little Bao began as a pop-up concept before finding a permanent space in Hong Kong’s Soho district in 2013. Drawing influences from Chow’s Chinese heritage and American upbringing, Little Bao offers an original take on classic Chinese comfort foods. Along with the signature burger-style ‘bao’, or steamed buns, the menu includes Chinese-inspired sharing plates. Adventurous, playful and creative, the restaurant reflects the chef’s personality and her ability to present familiar flavours in fresh, modern ways. Following the success of Little Bao Hong Kong, in July 2016 Chow opened a second outlet in Bangkok’s popular Thong Lor district.
Continuing to influence Hong Kong’s dining scene, 2016 also saw the launch of Chow’s Second Draft, a ‘Chinese gastropub’. The cross-cultural dining concept celebrates Hong Kong’s street food culture while showcasing Chow’s creative take on traditional dishes.
William Drew, Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “May Chow represents a new generation of Asian chef-restaurateurs. Young, energetic and creative, she brings a fresh perspective to traditional cuisine. Her passion, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment make her a worthy recipient of the 2017 Asia’s Best Female Chef Award.”
Acknowledging the award, Chow notes: “I am very honoured to be named Asia’s Best Female Chef.
I hope I can serve as a role model for other Asian female chefs, providing hope and opportunities for those who want to pursue their passions.”
Internationally recognised for her talent, Chow has been a guest judge on MasterChef Asia and represented Hong Kong at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Omnivore World Tour and Bordeaux Wine Festival.
The Best Female Chef Award
The Best Female Chef awards programme – incorporating The World’s Best Female Chef, Asia’s Best Female Chef and Latin America’s Best Female Chef – celebrates and rewards successful women who have risen to the top of the gastronomic world. These significant awards shine a light on a rarefied family of extraordinary chefs, with the aim of inspiring future generations of young women to reach for the heights of their chosen profession. Previous holders of the Asia’s Best Female Chef title include Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava from Thailand (2013), Lanshu Chen from Taiwan (2014), Hong Kong’s Vicky Lau (2015) and Margarita Forés of the Philippines (2016).
How Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled
The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on their best restaurant experiences of the previous 18 months. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.
For the 2017 edition, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is once again working with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner. The adjudication by Deloitte ensures that the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants are protected.
To see more details on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants voting process, visit