55-year-old Jack Tiang, the Executive Chef of the Solutions 17 Group, knew his calling in life from a young age.
"I'd always wanted to be a chef ever since I was a child," he tells AsiaOne. Describing the chefs he saw as a child as "Generals of the Kitchen Brigade", Chef Jack says that he admired their ability to "orchestrate their teams to create memorable meals" for their customers.
His culinary ambitions has certainly taken him places. Chef Jack is currently stationed in Macau, overseeing Solutions 17 Group's restaurants in the Venetian Macau - 3 Monkeys, World Wide Wings, Tong Shui Cafe and Rasa Singapura - and bringing a taste of Singapore to a wider audience.
What was your Big Break?
Hmm... It has been a long time. Let's see... I believe that would be the time when I was employed as a Chief decorator in Goodwood Park Hotel. My creative decor for an outdoor festive event received an overwhelming response . Thereafter, I was sent by the hotel to participate in many food competitions. I received a Gold award in Ice carving & cold presentation in Taiwan Food Festival, as well as in other food festivals in Sapporo, Japan and in Russia. These were all avenues to my current success.
What makes a good chef?
In my opinion, being a good chef requires discipline, respect and using your "heart" when creating dishes.
Do you have a signature dish?
My signature dish is Rack of Baby Lamb - a tantalizing juicy rack presented in fashionable fusion-like display. A beautiful creation, if I may say so myself! It represents my cooking skills and most importantly, customers appreciate it with great satisfaction.
What is your most essential kitchen tool and why?
My soda spoon has been accompanying me for over 20 years. I regard it as my essential tool as I have to taste each dish before serving. It is like an old friend of mine.
What are the must-haves in your fridge at home?
It's simple - Thai chilies, garlic and Parmesan cheese, which I normally use with spaghetti - the easiest dish to cook!
When you do cook at home, what do you usually cook?
It's a pity that my job doesn't allow me much time to cook at home. If I cook (only for special occasions), I usually whip up vegetarian dishes.
What is your favourite local dish? Why and which stall you go to?
Probably Indian "Tho-say". I like the strong flavour of Indian spices swaying around in my mouth when I eat it. Its' after-taste is simply marvelous! There is no specific stall that I must go to as there are many good Indian stalls in Singapore selling this dish.