THERE has been a lot of movement recently within the top echelons of some Hong Kong businesses. But you will not learn about them by reading the business sections of local newspapers. These are not the kind of changes that send company stocks soaring or plummeting as CEOs switch allegiances, or as young blood is brought in to inject fresh ideas into a faltering company. This movement is going on behind the scenes - out of sight and out of mind of most of the general public. In Paris, London, New York, Sydney and other places also known as culinary capitals, these changes might well have made front-page news. The changes that are going on are in the kitchens of some top restaurants. The Avenue, the highly-acclaimed restaurant at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, saw the departure of Tim Powell, who has returned to England. While Alain Verzeroli, from the Island Shangri-La's Petrus, has abandoned Hong Kong in favour of Japan. Gaddi's in The Peninsula has brought in a new chef, the Grand Stanford has two - for French restaurant Belvedere and Italian restaurant Mistral - and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre now has award-winning local chef Perry Yuen Kam-hung, in charge of the Western kitchen. Chefs, especially the expatriates, move around frequently from job to job (chefs at Chinese restaurants often grow old at the same place, simply moving up in the kitchen hierarchy). But Hong Kong lacks the cult of the celebrity chef that other culinary capitals have, where they are often as famous (and famously temperamental) as movie stars. Since diners here often do not know who makes the food, those in charge hope you will not notice - or taste - the transition as one chef leaves and the next gradually develops the menu and refines the dishes. Regular customers were probably not aware that Mr Verzeroli left Petrus last August and that Bruno Sohn took over in December, that the Mistral has had two chefs in three years, with Gianluigi Bonelli more recently taking up the toque, or that Philippe Rozel took Philippe Gaudal's position at the Belvedere. Replacing Mr Powell at the Avenue is Marc Toutain, who was previously the hotel's executive sous chef. Mr Toutain came to Hong Kong four years ago, after stints in the United States and the Middle East. He is enthusiastic about being here, and plans on staying 'as long as possible'. 'You can see lots of things in Hong Kong - there's all kinds of cuisines. It's very important for your career to move around, and I wanted to come to Asia, especially Hong Kong, because it's one of the main places. It's a big change from being in the Middle East,' he says. Mr Powell is a difficult act to follow - did Mr Toutain find it hard to step into his shoes? 'Yes and no. People expect a lot, but Tim and I have the same vision, which is to make modern European food,' Mr Toutain says. 'It's modern because it's light and healthy, it's making the best of the products. People here are very open-minded, our customers are 75 per cent Hong Kong Chinese; they're willing to try a lot of different things.' The Belvedere's new chef, Mr Rozel, has been in Hong Kong for just one month. 'I travelled a lot through Asia, but never worked here. I fell in love with some of the places, and I like the culture. So when the opportunity came to work in Hong Kong I was very happy. 'I like the city, I was impressed with the restaurant and hotel, and I am excited to have the opportunity to express myself through my cuisine,' he says. Sometimes it is difficult for regular customers - who had favourite dishes by the old chef - to get used to the new chef's creations. Mr Rozel says he is slowly putting his mark on the menu. 'I'm doing it step by step, you can't change everything at once. I know what people expect when they come to a French restaurant. 'We have regular customers, they might come once or twice a week. They're starting to know me, and I'm starting to know them. I might say, why don't you let me make one of my special dishes, so they can try it, and this way I let them know what I can do.' Bruno Sohn's CV is extremely impressive - he has held top positions at one, two and three Michelin-starred restaurants, including at the Hotel de Paris under the famed Alain Ducasse, and, more recently as chef/owner of his own one-star restaurant, A La Table de Bruno. He gave all that up to come to Petrus. 'I think it's very important to work in a big city, it's very exciting,' he said. 'Strasbourg is small, Monaco is small . . .' But why would he give up his own highly successful restaurant to come here? 'It's too difficult [because of] the money,' he says, explaining that it takes enormous financial backing for a one-star restaurant to become a two- or three-star restaurant. 'The timing was right. It just happened that the Shangri-La was looking for a chef for Petrus, after I had given up my restaurant. '[From working in different places] you gain a different perspective and see new things,' Mr Sohn says. Mr Toutain agrees. 'All places are different, you learn so much. What's interesting is creating; it's no good if you just produce. The more you travel and look, the more you see and learn - that is very important.'