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  • Can I try?

  • Yeah, absolutely.

  • Thank you!

  • Chris Kong has cooked for celebrity A-listers and top name chefs like Daniel Humm,

  • cutting his teeth in some of the world's most renowned restaurants.

  • But last year the 32-year-old chef quit the glitz and glamour of Michelin star kitchens for, well, his own.

  • After working for so many of these great chefs, and doing their kind of food and learning

  • from them as well, you kind of want to find out, "What's your style? What does Chris' food look like?"

  • Kong is the host of Dearborn Supper Club,

  • an exclusive private dining experience with a distinctly average setting.

  • I've come to his apartment in the east coast of Singapore to find out

  • what has got guests queuing up outside his door to pay $100 ahead.

  • Welcome, guys. Happy Monday!

  • So, here what we have in front of you is a beautiful congkak board.

  • So each of these little snacks kind of play a little story about where I've worked and

  • what I've done and how I've learned and come into Dearborn.

  • I began my career at a very young age, about 15. My parents actually have an Italian restaurant in Seattle.

  • So they were the first Chinese to open an Italian restaurant in Washington.

  • So from there I've always been intrigued and

  • been in the restaurant business and kind of just grew up with it.

  • Chris started out on a traditional path, going to university to study business, but soon returned to his passion.

  • Later on, I knew I wanted to expand and travel and learn more and work for the best chefs that I could.

  • So, after I graduated college I actually bought a one-way ticket and I went to Malaysia.

  • I worked for an open-air kind of Chinese seafood restaurant to learn about Asian cuisine.

  • And found himself quickly rising in the ranks.

  • After Malaysia, I went to Singapore.

  • I sent my CV to a few restaurants and I got a call back from Guy Savoy.

  • So that was a different spectrum from what I was coming from.

  • You describe the cuisine as Modern-American, but you've got quite a varied culinary history,

  • so how do you use those influences?

  • It's focused on Modern-American because as a Chinese-American

  • I grew up in the U.S. and it's such a melting pot.

  • The technique that was drilled into me with The NoMad and Daniel Humm and Guy Savoy

  • was very structured, it was very technique-driven.

  • And so I try to implement that into my cooking, as well as things that I enjoy eating.

  • But he's also given the menu his own sustainable twist, using mainly vegetarian produce, grains and seafood.

  • We wanted to cook for people the way that we feel that would help the environment as well.

  • The best feedback is when people come back and are like,

  • "Oh, I didn't know that was a vegetable. I didn't miss the meat."

  • Chris is one of a growing number of so-called supper club chefs

  • who are capitalizing on diners' insatiable appetites for new eating experiences.

  • It's a trend that's taken off in cities from New York to London.

  • Singapore alone has dozens, with prices ranging from $35 to $105 per head.

  • So, Chris, you've set the pricetag at S$138, that's about $100. How did you come to that price point?

  • So, what we did was we actually had a couple of dinners before with some friends, and family

  • as well, to kind of just gauge where our value would be.

  • This was the average price point that everybody agreed on.

  • I wanted to give people the feeling that they were coming to a restaurant,

  • but just maybe not in the space, in our house.

  • So you're getting the same quality of service and food

  • and there are no shortcuts in anything that we're going to do.

  • He currently runs the business full-time, enlisting the help of his wife and sister-in-law.

  • How does this spread across a week?

  • So, on Monday I'll start to order things, look at the inventory, what we need to do.

  • And if there are any allergies or dislikes and things that I need to consider when I'm ordering the food.

  • And then on Wednesday and Thursday, I'll begin prepping.

  • And then on Friday and Saturday, of course, it's dinner.

  • Then on Sunday is the one kind of day off, where we get to relax and spend time with the family.

  • You really couldn't fit in a regular job.

  • Not the normal job, I would say. Not with all this.

  • And says his business background has certainly come in handy.

  • This is how you're making a living now. How does that work for you?

  • Cooking is one part of it, but I think you need to also understand the cash flow

  • and all the other little, teeny bits of running a business.

  • But the benefits from it, it's more than money. It's being able to express yourself

  • and being able to do something that you love to do.

  • It's a lot of uphill at first, and then it gets cruising after a while. I hope.

Can I try?

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    Summer posted on 2020/09/17
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