Today we speak to the bubbly and teddy bear look-alike Executive Chef of Island Café & Bar, Sherwin Sim. After graduating from SHATEC, he’s had an illustrious journey which finally led him to TANGS. And boy, are we glad to welcome him. Read on to find out more about him!
Who are you, Sherwin Sim?
Currently, I am the Executive Chef of Island Café & Bar, proudly managing its operations and events. I pursued my culinary interests through SHATEC. Upon graduation, I joined Pierside Kitchen and Bar (with the Marmalade Group) where I gained extensive culinary knowledge and skills in various cuisines, from French, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean to Asian. 4 years later, in 2008, I began my management career and became the Executive Chef at The Coriander Leaf Group and conducted countless cooking classes. 6 years later, I ventured into Japanese-French Creative Modern Meatless Cuisine at Joie, with a passion to showcase freshness and plenty of flavour to the new concept. Joining the Delicae group, I oversaw the successful operation of their 9 outlets before joining the TANGS family.
I believe a good chef should always be customer-oriented. I value building relationships with all customers, so people will see me interacting with my customers to share their food experience.
Did you have a food mentor or inspiration growing up?
Since I can remember, I spent most of my time in the kitchen watching my mother and grandfather preparing heart-warming, home-cooked dishes for the family. I come from a big family and when we gather for reunion dinners during Chinese New Year, my mother and grandfather have to cook for more than 30 family members. Their passion to dish out their best for the family is always inspiring to me; they always believe cooking comes from the heart. There is no shortcut to preparing any dish; this is the motto I live by.
What is the must have ingredient in your kitchen?
Prawns! You can do whatever you want with prawns, serve them chilled, grilled, sautéed, poached, steamed, anything really. Of course, it is also because I love to eat prawns.
We heard Island Cafe & Bar has a new menu, what can we look forward to?
The new menu has introduced many new dishes from rich cuisines of Asia, such as Bulgogi Beef, Miso Cod and Crab Cakes. Look forward to enjoying the distinctive flavours presented in these dishes, carefully crafted by combining traditional and modern cooking techniques.
Name your favourite dish at Island Cafe & Bar?
The Napa Cabbage and Snow Pear consommé. This richly flavoured clear soup is prepared by double boiling Napa cabbage and snow pear for at least 4 hours. Growing up in a Cantonese family, soup was always an important element in my meals. This aromatic soup elegantly displays the fusion of Chinese ingredients with French cooking methods and is one of my favourite creations.
What social/charitable causes are you passionate about?
Nurturing young talents to develop them into professional chefs. I give anyone with the right attitude a chance to work in the kitchen. Throughout the years, I have mentored some who started out as stewards and are now chefs working in reputable establishments.
How do you see Singapore’s food culture changing in the future?
Singapore's food culture is geared towards more creative dishes. Patrons are looking for new and interesting gourmet dishes, not only just in taste but also in the presentation. Molecular gastronomy, fusion cuisines infused with local flavours and "Instagram-worthy" plated modern dishes will continue to play a big part in Singapore's food culture.