SINGAPORE: “Finally!” celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay exclaimed at the opening of Bread Street Kitchen at the Marina Bay Sands, his second restaurant in Asia.
“Bread Street Kitchen is about fun, tapping into the culture; I think more than anything coming into a relaxed environment,” he said, in an interview with Channel NewsAsia. “And that view – that view out there, it’s stunning.”
The chef, whose love affair with Singapore began in 1996, goes on to explain how the Singapore outfit is different.
“Bread Street Kitchen here is family-oriented. It’s open; it’s lively,” he said, adding that dishes will be sent out once they are ready. “When it’s cooked, you send it (out), because it sits well with the locals here. It’s a very refreshing way of cooking without holding stuff. It’s fast, it’s furious.”
Bread Street Kitchen has five branches all over the world – its first being on Bread Street in London. While they all have a local twist, what makes it unique is its approach to cuisine – a modern approach that demystifies good food, Ramsay revealed.
“It’s good fine cuisine, but it’s very unorthodox. But it’s also very relaxed,” said Ramsay. “I think it’s a bit of a combination – the old, versus the new.”
While some have expressed concerns about the cost of dining at Bread Street Kitchen Singapore, Ramsay is unfazed. “I think we’re reasonably priced,” he said, “Time will tell, based on the success.”
“If you’re saying the price at Bread Street Kitchen has to be the same of that as the hawker market – it’s two completely different offerings,” the straight-talking chef said.
THE WOMAN WHO HELMS THE KITCHEN
Sabrina Stillhart is introduced by Ramsay as “one of the most talented females anywhere in Singapore,” as we stepped into the kitchen for a behind-the-scenes tour. Stillhart, who has previously worked at the London original, leads a team of 27 in Singapore.
“Long live the female chef! Because there’s not enough of them,” said Ramsay.
The kitchen is a flurry of activity as the chefs prepared for a canapé party. Ramsay proudly said every recipe comes from Bread Street Kitchen in London, but was quick to add that once everything is up and running, the team is keen to introduce local flavours in their menu.
Glistening tamarind wings, flatbreads and veal carpaccio are some dishes diners can expect while dining at Singapore’s Bread Street Kitchen, alongside British classics such as macaroni and cheese. “Beau-ooo-ti-ful,” Ramsay sang, as the food was brought out.
Another highlight of Bread Street Kitchen, according to Ramsay, is their drinks – in particular, the cocktail list. “The temperature here is insane,” he said. “It’s a very nice way of combining spirits with a bit of oomph.”
Mr Ramsay’s children have somewhat followed in his footsteps. His 13-year-old daughter, Matilda, has her own cooking series on CBBC. Similarly, the chef encourages his son Jack to pick up cooking as well.
“They never have to decide on it as a career, just as a life skill in general,” he said.
The chef said he encouraged his son not to stress over Latin before his GCSE’s and asked him to cook instead. “What’s he going to use most? He’ll have far more success cooking a romantic dish for his girlfriend than he will speaking to her in Latin,” Ramsay quipped.
Clearly unfazed by what others think, Ramsay said he does not obsess over what people write about him. “Everybody is a critic. Everybody has an opinion. They are entitled to that. Do I listen to everybody? No,” he said.
Ramsay's hunger for success means expansion plans do not stop at Singapore. He has plans to open his second restaurant in Hong Kong in October, a Bread Street Kitchen in Dubai's Atlantis, The Palm Resort, and another Bread Street Kitchen in Macau next year.