It has been about 4 months since Restaurant Andre, the 2 star Michelin restaurant has officially shut its door on Valentine’s Day. While it was the most emotional moments for both couples especially Chef André Chiang’s wife, Sudarampai Chiang, as both of them always celebrate their wedding anniversary in his humble little restaurant, this decision will eventually expand Andre’s vision.
Second Interview Session with the Media After the Last ‘Family Meal’
The structure of restaurant Andre now amplifies as a group with a total of 7 restaurants to be exact. Chef Andre, the owner is still overlooking the rest of the 6. The schedule is still as packed with 2 more projects coming up in end of this year.
“I felt it is important to start thinking about the chef’s culinary perspective of the young generation future.
If we don’t start, we cannot change… I hope there can be 5-10 of me.” said, André Chiang,
The culinary experience of Andre started when he was cooking in his mum’s Chinese restaurant in Japan. Somehow this is just like a son having the expertise genes or influence of his mum during the growing up days which sparked his love of cooking. Two years later, Andre left and began to explore his French culinary journey in France.
Managing the Cultural Differences Among Different Nationalities
“Singapore is really a unique city in Asia… it’s a place that I never felt I have to adapt myself to the local palate. And people who travel will understand the difference between cuisines… Why French pastry is sweeter… Spanish cuisine is saltier… they understand their food; the differences.”
Being authentic as much as possible, never try to become someone else. The team that Andre sets for his then Restaurant Andre is never to duplicate a French restaurant’s experience which one can find in London or Paris. It has to be uniquely Singapore and remind diners which country are they actually in – in terms of the “produce” or combination of flavours. Having said that, his wife does at times pull him back to reality and remind him that it is not just about creation, but also creation when if he gets too artistically involved.
Sumptuous Homecooked Luncheon Prepared by the Team, Chef Andre Himself and his Wife
“The biggest challenge in this industry for everybody is Staffing; It’s getting harder and harder to find passionate, stable young chefs, but our government policy getting even much stricter than before, from foreigner quota to working hours, from public holiday to minimum wedges.”
The Creative Aspects – A Take-Away for Young Chefs
“Self-confidence comes from knowing what you know, the best… which is our own culture… our own produce… if we don’t know that then how can we be comfortable? How are we going to cook in front of the French? But if we do understand your own flavour and identity, learning a different type of cuisine is just like putting a cherry on the cake because you have become stronger; I know both cuisines and techniques. I can combine both which French will never be able to do it. I guess a lot of people don’t see the value of ourselves or our own culture. We are just trying to learn whatever is in trend, what’s popular right now.”
From Indian, Thai to Korean Homely Dishes
Prior to that, there isn’t really an iconic restaurant for Singapore when Restaurant Andre started in October 2010.
“We can’t be just a good French restaurant, we have to have the kind of simple of a character of the country, the culture. This is what we are trying and we kept reminding ourselves. So diners from everywhere will bring a piece of Singapore away with them”
One special dessert was formulated by Chef Andre and his team because of an inspiration related to an old-school motorbike ice cream seller; one of our local Singaporean childhood.
Authentic Taiwanese Beef Noodle by Chef Andre Chiang
The Focus of Giving Back to Home, Taiwan
The purpose of having “RAW” is to highlight the beautiful things in Taiwan such as the people and the produce. Inspired by Taiwanese flavour, Andre shifted his focus to “RAW” on top of that he hopes which is to spend more time in shaping the younger generations by attending more activities. He has been teaching at a university for about 2 – 3 years now. Chef Andre also hopes to create a culinary training that belongs to themselves as there isn’t any specialised training for nation chefs and there seems to be lost in the national identity.
One Advice to the Millenniums of F&B Industry
“For the younger generation, they hardly take time to do something as things come and go quickly. They don’t have the patience to simply work in one place for 3 years or practice 1 technique for a year. For them, it is too much and with the advancement of technology, most of the things can be googled or be found on Youtube videos. The mindset of the millenniums is about “I am” able to move fast, “I want” to see more things, “I want” to travel and “I know” what to do. All these make them becoming very unstable or impatient in a way.”
Chef Andre has seen many young generations who have only done a few things in a restaurant and the next thing, they decided to open a café selling bagels. Therefore, “Take Time, Take Risk, Take it Seriously” is the advice given by him for all the young and growing chefs.
Casual Sit Down Media Interview with Chef Andre Chiang
What is “Work-Life” Balance?
Chef Andre thinks that everybody can have a work-life balance – in his own terms and definition in a positive way. Being fortunate has a link to the kind of influence on how serious we are in what we want to do.
“Compared to those countries which need to fight for what they want to achieve, we may be quite a layback and comfortable as what we need are easily accessible. Most of us are indeed fortunate.”
Memories Along the Walls
He has quoted two examples to share with us what one should focus on “enjoying the process” in all aspect of what we are currently doing or intend to do to achieve work-life balance.
Each of the staff’s shirt design symbolises the number of years they have been with Restaurant Andre
“It is not the moment of 10 minutes standing at the top of the mountain. It is actually the other 90 percent of the journey while we moved ahead, getting through the obstacles and achieving the journey together. That’s part of the game.”
“Everybody likes to have a slim body or with muscles. This will not work out if we do it by working out in a gym non-stop a day for 24 hours. We will need to do at least 1 hour every single day.”
The Limited Edition Moooi Carpet Design
A Collaboration Designed by Chef André Chiang with Space x Moooi Design Residency Program
Read More: Here
Indeed like what he has said, life will be more beautiful when we work towards and achieve the goals we set.
41 Bukit Pasoh Road Singapore 089855