IGNATIUS AND JANICE
If anyone can attest to the joys and struggle of running a successful restaurant—one that has, over the past 13 years, helped define Singapore’s finedining scene—these two love birds would be the poster couple. Though not a chef, Ignatius Chan’s deep appreciation for fine food is matched by his love for fine wines—and as an acclaimed sommelier, it’s safe to say it’s a well-founded adoration. But it also has to be said that his wife Janice Wong is his biggest pillar of support, working closely with the team. She supports him in all aspects, but definitely lets him take charge of the creative direction regarding menus, pairings, research and development.
Our love of gastronomy and travel have always been fundamental to our relationship, even from the time we first met
HAS A MUTUAL LOVE OF GASTRONOMY BROUGHT YOU CLOSER?
She said: Yes, I definitely think so. I was definitely not as attuned to the world of food and wine, until years after we started going out together. Our love of gastronomy and travel have always been fundamental to our relationship, even from the time we first met. He said: Definitely. As a couple, when you have mutual passions for food, it becomes truly integrated within your lives.
DID YOU IMAGINE WORKING TOGETHER WOULD BE ROMANTIC?
She said: No, I’m not particularly fond of the idea, but I’m definitely getting used to it after 13 years! He said: We did not think we would work together initially. Prior to this, Janice had a job in the aerospace industry, but I desperately needed someone that I trusted to help me out when I started the restaurant in 2004.
HOW HAS SPENDING THAT MUCH TIME TOGETHER SHAPED THE RELATIONSHIP?
She said: It has been a journey. But we have gotten to a level where we both know what each of us are good at. We may not necessarily agree on everything, but we agree to disagree. He said: Over time, we have definitely adapted to each other’s work styles. We both realised we should not be talking about work at home or in bed. It’s important to be able keep them separate and just wait until the next day to talk about what transpired at work when we are both in the office.