Jean-Charles Dubois

SALT Magazine - - A Day With - TEXT WEETS GOH PHO­TOS LIM MINGLONG ART DI­REC­TION SOH KAH KHEE

The ex­ec­u­tive chef of the newly-opened Sof­i­tel Sin­ga­pore City Cen­tre shows us the

in­ner culi­nary work­ings of the ho­tel.

When we ar­rive at Sof­i­tel Sin­ga­pore City Cen­tre, the brand’s Sin­ga­porean flag­ship ho­tel which opened in early Oc­to­ber this year, Jean-Charles Dubois is man­ning the live cook­ing sta­tions at the ho­tel’s break­fast. It’s a hum­bling first im­pres­sion, see­ing the ex­ec­u­tive chef of an en­tire ho­tel so close to the ground, per­son­ally fry­ing and serv­ing guests’ omelettes. Through­out the rest of the day, as we move about the ho­tel, Dubois greets every­one cheer­fully with a strong fa­mil­iar­ity. It’s clear that he’s well liked—an older fe­male staff laugh­ingly tells us in Man­darin that the “sifu is cre­at­ing some­thing new” when he’s pre­par­ing a bar­ra­mundi dish; walk­ing into a lift, he word­lessly fist­bumps an­other mem­ber of staff.

Born into a fam­ily of chefs in the city of Angers in Loire Val­ley, France, Dubois grew up sur­rounded by food, with his for­ma­tive years spent in the kitchen. “I’ve been cook­ing ever since I was four. My grand­fa­ther, fa­ther and un­cle are all chefs, and I’ve al­ways wanted to be a chef my­self,” he shares. Dubois’ il­lus­tri­ous cook­ing ca­reer has spanned sev­eral renowned restau­rants in Paris, in­clud­ing the now-de­funct Jac­ques Cagna and three Miche­lin­starred L’Es­padon. Since mov­ing to Sin­ga­pore in 2004, he’s helmed many iconic spots like Raf­fles Grill at the Raf­fles Ho­tel Sin­ga­pore, Balzac Brasserie, and his solo ven­ture, The French Kitchen, although the lat­ter two are now de­funct.

Now, he’s run­ning the show at Sof­i­tel Sin­ga­pore City Cen­tre’s only restau­rant, Racines. French for ‘roots’, the 136-seater all-day din­ing restau­rant serves French and Chi­nese dishes side-by-side, with two sep­a­rate kitchen brigades in charge of each cui­sine—with the West­ern side cook­ing on cus­tom-built Mar­rone stoves, and the

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