4 local chef-owners and their culinary secrets

Singapore may just be a little red dot, but our gastronomic culture is brimming and bursting at its seams. In this video, we talked to some of the most passionate chef-owners—who can work the kitchen and be visionaries for their businesses at the same time—as they come forth to reveal their culinary secrets to success.

Janice Wong—2AM: Dessert Bar

A true visionary, chef Janice Wong often experiments with a variety of colours, textures and flavours, and her strikingly unconventional edible artworks are constantly evolving, as people interact with them. Every item on 2AM’s menu represents her exploration of the dessert experience, pushing the boundaries for sweets with carefully-crafted, progressive dishes that are as delectable as they are beautiful.

Lisa Tang—Kausmo

Chef Lisa Tang’s culinary philosophy is largely inspired by her stint at Primo, a full-circle restaurant on a farm located in Maine, USA. She returned to Singapore with a renewed interest to find out what grows in our region as well as a desire to understand the issue of produce filtering in Singapore.

The menu changes on a near-weekly basis, based on what’s available from their importers as she chooses to highlight locally-grown, overstocked, over-ripened and oddly-shaped and sized produce over a set fare—which is why dishes don’t come with a name at Kausmo; they’re named after the honorary ingredients of the week.

Woo Wai Leong—Restaurant Ibid

Chef Woo Wai Leong’s key approach to food served at Restaurant Ibid is clarity—the last thing a dish needs is to look congested. With the belief that a clear story resides behind every item, the main priority remains, keeping guests at ease with each detail of service, whether it is through the explanation of the food, the understanding of expectations or even the serving of complimentary glasses of sparkling or still water throughout the night.

Bjorn Shen—Artichoke

Authenticity is what chef Bjorn Shen holds closest to him—and it doesn’t take long after setting foot into Artichoke for patrons to come to this realisation. Besides being undeniably skilled in the kitchen, chef Bjorn embodies his unorthodox personality thoroughly into his furnishings, with Nasi Padang-style floral plastic plates, Will Ferrell posters and numerous vulgar decor.

And to quote the chef-owner himself on how he sets himself apart from the others: “They’re not stupid like me.”