Fea­ture

Nurs­ing a pas­sion­ate re­la­tion­ship with food is hard enough, but these four cou­ples tell Don Men­doza how they nur­ture love in the highly de­mand­ing restau­rant busi­ness

T. Dining by Singapore Tatler - - Contents -

Four cou­ples share how they stay in love and suc­ceed in the highly de­mand­ing restau­rant busi­ness

I’ve al­ways been in awe of the long hours chefs and those who make a liv­ing in the com­pet­i­tive world of restau­rants put in—and of­ten sym­pa­thetic to what seems like an im­pos­si­ble set­ting for romance, let alone true love, to flour­ish. So it’s in­spir­ing, to say the least, to find four cou­ples who not only prove that it can hap­pen, but also af­firm what cel­e­brated home cook, au­thor and self-de­scribed “nat­u­ral ham” Ju­lia Child fa­mously be­lieved—that peo­ple who love to eat are the best peo­ple. I also like to think that a good mar­riage, like a good dish, is some­thing you make, not some­thing you copy. It’s not a recipe you’d want to com­pro­mise with ar­ti­fi­cial flavours and colours—no mat­ter how much you like Dori­tos or vanillin (or play­ing dress-up).

More im­por­tantly, it’s a work in progress and of­ten calls for a gen­er­ous dose of re­silience. And in the case of chef Sam Ais­bett’s wife, An­nette, who takes care of the ad­min­is­tra­tive side of the busi­ness that is White­grass, it’s best han­dled with a sprightly sense of hu­mour. “I had worked in a cou­ple of bou­tique ho­tels when we lived in Lon­don for a while and then, when we moved to Syd­ney, I started work­ing in the cafe and cof­fee-roast­ing in­dus­try,” she says of her re­cent his­tory in the food and bev­er­age busi­ness. That led to the ques­tion of how she ended up in her cur­rent role. “I was forced into it by mar­riage,” she quips—or at least we hope. For most, though, the boon is in shar­ing a vested in­ter­est in the in­dus­try—and this is par­tic­u­larly true of Iggy’s Ig­natius Chan and his wife, Jan­ice. “We’ve known each other for 32 years and we’ve worked to­gether since we co-founded Iggy’s in 2004,” she shares.

Still, I like to believe that at some point, this gen­uine love for good food ma­tures to be­come a defin­ing in­gre­di­ent, like the pathos of some of the great­est love sto­ries—as in­sep­a­ra­ble as cheese and honey.

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