SEVEN DISHES: JUSTIN QUEK
The veteran chef expresses a uniquely Singaporean identity through the FrancoAsian creations at his new restaurants, JUSTIN and Chinoiserie.
Singapore’s most famous celebrity chef, Justin Quek,
returns to Marina Bay Sands to unveil two new restaurants: Chinoiserie and JUSTIN, which showcase his
mastery for fine Chinese and French cuisines.
Justin Quek, one of Singapore’s top chefs, is known for his dexterity in French fine dining and also his deep understanding of Asian cuisines. Quek, who is Teochew, used to help out at his family’s fruit stall at Queen’s Street in his younger days. His desire to see the world led him to apply for a job as a merchant ship’s stewart, which allowed him to sail around the globe. From there, he found his calling in the kitchens, and decided to pursue his culinary career. He eventually used his savings to spend a year training in the finest three-star restaurants in France and London.
After his European stint, Quek returned to Singapore to work as personal chef for the French ambassador in 1992. He also cooked for Singapore’s founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s birthday dinners every year for more than a decade.
Quek made a name for himself at the venerable French finedining Les Amis in the late 1990s until 2004. He then left Singapore to explore the regional market. Over six years, he operated as chefowner of numerous fine dining restaurants in Taiwan and Shanghai. In Hong Kong, he served as a consultant to multiple restaurants. In 2010, when Marina Bay Sands (MBS) was launched, Quek returned to Singapore to run Sky on 57, which has since shuttered.
It’s a dream for the chef to launch his two new concepts at MBS: the fine dining Chinoiserie is his “playground” (for now it is only available for special bookings). JUSTIN is the more casual outlet by the waterfront, which showcases the different local flavours our city has to offer. At lunch, diners can tuck into quick one-dish meals. In the evenings, zi char favourites like chilli crab and fish head curry are served.
Quek says that he’s come full circle, returning to the fine dining scene where he first made his mark. Yet, he’s travelled, tasted and experienced so much more to date. This new distinctly Singaporean venture is a representation of who he is.