We Sat Down For A Speed Dating-Style Interview With 6 Of The World's Best Chefs
Only 30 publications were chosen from a pool of hundreds for an exclusive 'Meet The Chefs' interview; Malaysia Tatler was proud to be among the elected.
During the ‘speed dating’-style interview at the 18th edition of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Singapore, journalists remained at their respective tables while 6 renowned chefs representing Europe, Asia and North America rotated from table to table every 12 minutes.
Éric Ripert, Mathias & Thomas Sühring, Bertrand Grébaut, Danny Yip & Peter Goossens converse on matters of the heart:
While Eric Ripert would be more than happy to share a bottle of fine wine, don’t try to get him drunk. The chef-owner of Le Bernadin in New York City, creator of #BourdainDay (in honour of his close friend's untimely death), and committed Buddhist is not a complete teetotaler, but maintains sobriety.
"First of all, I am not a Buddhist monk, so I’ve not taken any vows," he pointed out. "In Buddhism there are 10 non-virtues: killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, intoxication, gossiping, harsh talk, divisive talk, a malicious attitude, and wrong views — I try not to commit any of these, but the topic of intoxication is interesting, right? Because as chefs, we like to drink wine with our food; it complements a meal. Ultimately, you have to have discipline. The idea is to enjoy wine pairing experiences without ending up drunk."
Mathias & Thomas Sühring
The soft-spoken siblings will shake off any constraints if you try to clamp down on their freedom; at least that's what we gleaned when we asked the duo about growing up in a German household.
The duo enjoyed a carefree childhood and roamed freely at their grandmother's farm every summer, playing with pigs, chasing chickens, and foraging for forest ingredients before it was considered cool.
Comfort food such as currywurst is taken to new gastronomic heights at the eponymous Restaurant Sühring in Bangkok.
Environmentalists are likely to gel well with Bertrand Grébaut. His Parisian restaurant Septime was hailed as the most sustainable restaurant on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2017.
"It’s a philosophy and a way of life," he said, shrugging off the media's compliments. "At Septime, we recycle, we have electric cars..."
"You roll your tobacco instead of buying cigarettes with filters?" we asked.
“Even better — I don’t smoke anymore,” he laughed.
The quickest way to Danny Yip's heart is to make him a delicious plate of humble fried rice.
"Less is more," said the chef-owner of The Chairman. "I’m always telling my chefs, ‘Don’t put in too much,’ or ‘Take that out!’ I’m a big fan of Steven Jobs. The key is simplicity; simply look at the iPhone's success story!"
Even so, he recognises that fried rice is deceivingly difficult to perfect. "The grains shouldn't stick to one another and you’ve got to be daring enough to turn up the heat up in order to smell the ‘wok hei,' but risk burning the rice."
Bread and beer are his vices, but beer in bread is even better!
Which isn't surprising given the chef's nationality (in 2016, Belgium beer culture was inserted into UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List).
Dubbed 'the Godfather of Belgium gastronomy,' 55-year-old Goossens enrolled in hospitality school at the tender age of 15, and has headed Hof Van Cleve for 33 years.
When it comes to the question of carbs, the chef can't get enough of fresh loaves. "I’m crazy about bread," he confessed. "We make 8 kinds of bread every day and everything will be sold out. And when I bake with beer, I have the taste of both."