Meet chefs aged 35 and under who are holding court in the kitchen
There is a saying that goes: to really hone a craft, you need to work at it for at least 10 years. For chefs, time and practice count even more. Each service, each plate of food is different, and they have to be on their toes, with their skills perfectly honed, to deliver spot on every single time.
With some starting as young as 15 or 16, many young chefs can reach their first career peak in their 20s or 30s. Joël Robuchon, Daniel Boulud, Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White all headed the kitchen or helmed their own restaurants by then, while in Singapore, top head chefs like Sam Aisbett of Whitegrass and Jason Tan of Corner House are 35 or under.
Early success in the culinary arts is helped along by mentorships which narrow the learning curve, says Edmund Toh, President of the Singapore Chefs’ Association. “Internships have gained more importance in recent years. It’s in part thanks to the rise in quality culinary institutions who consciously design internship programmes as part of the curriculum. This fast-tracks students’ understanding about the industry, and gives them a more formalised structure for learning.” Add to that a wealth of culinary knowledge on the Internet and a greater ease of travel, and young chefs today have a huge arsenal at their disposal.
But there are no shortcuts to hard work and sacrifice, says Julien Royer, chef-owner of Odette, who became head chef of Brasserie Les Saveurs in St Regis Singapore at just 25. “I started in the kitchen at 18. It has less to do with age and more to do with having 15 or more years of experience, starting from the very bottom,” he says.
Here we meet 10 young chefs whose restaurants were awarded stars in Singapore’s Top Restaurants 2017/2018. We salute their hard work and success so far, and look forward to their dishes still to come, in the next decade, the next, and the next.
- Sun Kim, 33 from Meta
- Petrina Loh, 35 from Morsels
- Julien Royer, 35 from Odette
- Carlos Montobbio, 30 from Esquina
- Marco Guccio, 34 from Zafferano Italian Restaurant and Lounge
- Fernando Arevalo, 32 from Artemis
- Andrea de Paola, 26 from Osteria Art
- Yuki Tsukamoto, 29 from Beef Yakiniku Dining Yakiniquest
- Brian Wong, 33 from Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant
- Kirk Westaway, 32 from Jaan