As part of our series of short interviews with chefs, restaurateurs, lifestyle and hospitality leaders here and will be asking them some questions that perhaps they’ve not been asked in other interviews. Hopefully this gives you a deeper insight into what they do and what inspires them day to day.
Our first interview is with none other than Chef Nicholas Chew, a Singaporean plying his culinary passion and skills in Hong Kong, and who has had his beginnings in Japanese cuisine and Kaiseki preparation under the strict guidance of master chefs.
His journey and career have seen him make culinary strides from Singapore to Australia, before firmly planting his feet in Hong Kong, where he worked with the late Michel de Burgo at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, and Two Michelin Star Shane Osbourne at St Betty, after which he joined and opened cult-following progressive French restaurant Serge et le Phoque, where he achieved One Michelin Star for the establishment. He credits his Michelin Star achievement and continued success to his mentor and culinary director, Two Michelin Star Chef Christophe Pele of La Bigarrade and Le Clarence, dishing forth food that is honest, agile, precise and composed.
Chef Nicholas brings with him a real melting pot of food culture and cuisine disciplines. He haunts local markets for the freshest of produce and also brings in the best each season has to offer. With his Eastern background and European experiences, Chef Nick continues to explore and experiment, to bring out the very best that his cross culture background can create. From delicacies of the East, to luxury indulgences of the West, diners can always expect to be thrilled and delighted.
Chef Nicholas now owns and runs Guerrilla Lab and La Dacquoise in Hong Kong alongside partner and Chef John Yip. Together they hope to take private cheffing and dining to the next level, to engage, and delight, to enthral and entertain too.
Here are Five Questions with Chef Nicholas Chew…
1. When did you start Guerrilla Lab HK and what kind of cuisine do you dish up at these private dinners and parties? Also, what are some of the popular dishes clients ask for?
We started Guerrilla Lab HK back in 2020 and dished up a mix of Asian philosophies mixed with European cooking techniques. As most of our clients knew us from our time at Serge et le Phoque and Bibo from the start, word of mouth grew steadily through time. Our clients are ready to take on our menu recommendations, and we try to design dishes using ingredients they enjoy. We also work around the budget for the exclusive private dining experience. What we want is for them to truly have an enjoyable and memorable time.
2. What are some of your favourite ingredients that you enjoy cooking with, and is there also an ingredient you’d like to work with in the future that you have not cooked with before?
We are always in a constant experimentation process of harmonising ingredients across Land and Sea – this alone is never ending! Having the world’s cuisine at one’s fingertips is a journey of constant learning and enlightenment.
Perhaps the next phase of growth and interest is more towards preservation, fermentation, and working with more plant-based ingredients.
3. Running and managing Guerrilla Lab HK and La Dacquoise HK is probably demanding and challenging at times. What motivates you each day to do more, push boundaries, get yourself and your team to create, explore new things? Where does your day to day inspiration come from?
These days we are enjoying more time at hand, not rushing into situations anymore as before in a corporate kitchen. Now we have the means and dedication to allow ourselves to work on truly refining a particular taste, dish construction, or simply appreciate an ingredient for what it is, and how to showcase it to perfection – this in itself is already our day to day inspiration. Of course we want to please our clients and diners so that they keep inviting us back to cook for them! Seeing them enjoy our food is also a big inspiration.
4. How’s the year-end festive season looking, and what can your fans in HK look forward to in the new year 2022?
We have been very fortunate to be booked out for the festive season and will end 2021 on a positive note! 2022 is going to be a blast too with upcoming projects. Thanks to all who have supported us through these challenging times.
5. Five quick-fire things we’d like to know about Chef Nicholas:
- Favourite Singaporean food/dish? – Nasi Padang.
- Favourite past time besides cooking? – Having time outdoors being with nature.
- Favourite sport to watch and play? – Golf.
- Any favourite other cuisines besides Singapore/Chinese/Peranakan? What else do you cook? – I enjoy the art of Japanese and French cuisines.
- Favourite ‘something else’ that you might like to share with our readers and followers…travel destination, holiday spot, etc.? – Love the sun, sand & sea.
Thank you Chef Nicholas, that’s a wrap!
This article and interview is licensed by TripNTravel Marketing Services Singapore and first published at www.tripntravelms.com/news-views