Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is on the hunt for his next apprentice in Singapore. The chosen one will work alongside the notoriously foul-mouth chef at his new restaurant, Bread Street Kitchen, slated to open at Marina Bay Sands next April/May.
The 47-year-old restaurateur, who also judges cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef, made no bones about the fact that his Singaporean apprentice must have a high threshold for stress, among other qualities. “The individual must have a great palate, and be able to cook under pressure,” he said. “When you are comfortable in the kitchen, you have to push yourself to the next level. I would be brutally honest – cooking is a passion, it is not a job.”
Mr Ramsay was in Singapore on Monday (Sep 22) to judge a kitchen cook-off between four local chefs from various culinary institutions, each hoping to be handpicked for the apprentice position. The cook-off focused on eggs, with contestants tasked to make omelettes, poached eggs and soft-boiled eggs in 10 minutes.
The winner was Mr Koh Han Jie, a 21-year-old student from the Institute of Technical Education College West, whose eggs were praised by Mr Ramsay as being well-seasoned and perfectly cooked. “I was very nervous at the start because there was only 10 minutes to cook three kinds of eggs,” said Mr Koh. “It also did not help that there was a large crowd staring at me, and the chef himself standing next to me.”
The first-year Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management student said he was not a big Ramsay fan, which may have helped his nerves. But he is now planning to watch more of Ramsay’s cooking shows as he prepares to work with the celebrity chef next year. “I believe if I work hard and follow his instructions closely, I will not be yelled at when I work with him next year,” he said.
Ramsay said earlier in a press conference that he was “delighted” to be opening a restaurant in Singapore. “The further expansion into Asia is an exciting move for us and will see our successful London concepts being transferred and tailored to this new market,” he said.
With 25 restaurants around the world from Las Vegas to Versailles, the British chef said he planned to make his Singapore venture stand out by adapting to local ingredients and preferences. “I think the most important thing is to adapt locally. The ingredients available here like the fish and meat are extraordinary. We will adapt and transform the menu into a Singapore-style blend, but more importantly, it is about the identification of what we do in London.”
Bread Street Kitchen will have an industrial warehouse concept and feature British-European cuisine. As for prices, Mr Ramsay said it will be “value-for-money”: “It’s not going to be a fine dining, S$250 per head type of place. It will be a lot more relaxed than you think. For me, I like starting out small,” he explained.