Crossing Cultural Grounds
The omakase concept has been shared widely with the world, even permeating certain variations of Western cuisines. For Stephan Zoisl, Austrian chef-owner of Chef’s Table by Chef Stephan Zoisl (www.chefstable.sg), he wanted a concept that would challenge the boundaries of professional cooking. “Chef’s Table is meant to be a think-tank, a daily ongoing thought machine about cooking. As there is no menu, we are not limited by any rules or types of cuisine. There are no seasons that we have to follow or history that we have to obey. It’s total freedom of cooking,” he explains.
Zoisl’s 34-seater restaurant is as close to omakase as any Western restaurant can get. Everything from the layout of the dining room to the ever-changing menu echoes classic omakase sensibilities. He even goes as far as to have his culinary team serve the food. “It’s key to the experience. And the only ones who know what is on the plate are the chefs. It would be too time-consuming to pass it on to our front-of-house team, as not every table gets the same food,” he says.
Often, the metaphorical blindfold makes omakase a huge exercise in trust. However, there is still an element of personalisation as diners can axe certain unfavourable ingredients. “We customise the menus according to the guests’ dietary restrictions as well to the ingredients that they don’t want to eat. Everything is done on the spot in the kitchen.”
And the purpose of such an arduous endeavour? “The biggest goal and philosophy at Chef’s Table is this: no signature dishes, no repeated dishes. Every dinner should be a different experience,” Zoisl says.
And you can’t put a price on that.
“The biggest goal and philosophy at Chef’s Table is this: no signature dishes,
no repeated dishes. Every dinner should be a