THE WINE WIZARD IGNATIUS CHAN, SOMMELIER, RESTAURATEUR & FOUNDER, IGGY’S
BLAZING THE TRAIL
Before founding his eponymous restaurant Iggy’s, sommelier Ignatius Chan paved the way for generations of sommeliers after him. His acumen saw him winning the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Scholarship in 1988, snagging a six-month sommelier training in Europe sponsored by the Mandarin Oriental Sommelier Scholarship in 1989, and entering the finals of Sopexa World’s Best Sommelier in French Wines & Spirits Concours 1990 in Paris. He would go on to join Raffles Singapore for its reopening in 1991, establish Les Amis in 1994 as a partner, then make his name internationally with sommelier-centric Iggy’s in 2004.
Chan recalls, “Looking back at the 1980s, wine was not widely consumed and no one really knew what a sommelier does nor do they want the job. Today, sommeliers are possibly as important as the chef, and some enjoy the recognition and status of rockstars.”
As early as 2006, Iggy’s breached the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list at 99, then brought global attention to Singapore as it made pole position as the highest-ranked Asian restaurant in 2012 (piping the formidable Narisawa). Chan’s familiarity especially with Burgundy (he and wife Janice visit twice a year) and lauded tasting prowess (which he achieved by training and memory) make him one of the most respected and hands-on restaurateurs in Singapore among the cognoscenti.
THE OM FACTOR
“I see my business as being similar to playing a game of soccer, tennis or any kind of ball game. We must have a strategy and focus on the ball, not the score board.”