"I have no right to cook Thai food," mused David Thompson during a panel discussion on food authenticity.
"I arrived in Thailand a novice, uncertain and very unfamiliar with what has become a cuisine that has preoccupied me for the last 25 years."
Despite Thompson's misgivings, Nahm, the Australian chef's Bangkok fine diner, was last night named the S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna best restaurant in Asia.
Joining the former Darley Street Thai chef to accept the award were Nahm sous chef Prin Polsuk and Thompson's partner Tanongsak Yordwai.
While Australian restaurants aren't eligible for the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list, there was a subtle antipodean twang to the awards announced overnight at Singapore's Capella hotel.
Waku Ghin, Tetsuya Wakuda's Singaporean venture, broke into the top 10 to grab seventh place. Thompson protégés Duangporn 'Bo' Songvisava and Dylan Jones lend their names and skills to Bo.lan, the couple's Bangkok restaurant that climbed almost 10 places to number 28 after placing 36th on last year's inaugural poll.
Will Meyrick, chef at Bali's Sarong (number 47 and Indonesia's top-placed restaurant), counts stints at Sydney's Longrain and Jimmy Liks on his CV.
While China and Japan dominated the list again this year, other countries featured in the winners' circle. Despite Restaurant André slipping from fifth to sixth, chef André Chiang took home the peer-voted chefs' choice award.
Jungsik, both the highest new entry and South Korea's top table, debuted at number 20. Lanshu Chen of Taiwan's Le Moût was named this year's best female chef, while 2am Dessert Bar's Singaporean Janice Wong made it two in a row for best pastry chef.