Artists and craftsmen tasked with whipping up gastronomic delights, the head chefs of Pan Pacific Singapore work hard to satisfy guests’ discerning palates.
Working their way up from humble beginnings, these stalwarts of savoury and sweet specials take great pride in their unique culinary creations. From imaginative Chinese fusion dishes to succulent seafood to celebratory desserts—every dish is an inspired work of artistic endeavour and creativity.
Regale yourself with the pivotal moments in the long and distinguished careers of these Singapore hotel chefs, and be moved by the secrets to their success. While you are at it, feast your eyes on their proudest culinary creations below!
1. Hai Tien Lo’s Executive Chef Lai Tong Ping
Ever since he was 10, Executive Chef Lai Tong Ping knew he wanted to wear a chef’s hat. At Hai Tien Lo restaurant, Chef Lai Tong Ping has been a stickler for tradition and routine, believing that long, hard practice is what got him to where he is today. Despite helming one of Singapore’s top Chinese restaurants, the unassuming chef still enjoys a good bowl of soup for any meal of the day, inspired by his grandmother’s tasty cooking as he was growing up.
Chef Lai recounts the biggest achievement of his career as cooking for Singapore’s late President S.R. Nathan at the Istana. This golden opportunity made him realise there is so much more to being a chef than just providing a service; it is also about creating a special and serendipitous moment for strangers that they will never forget.
A fusion appetiser best enjoyed cold, Udon with Shredded Abalone and Sakura Shrimp comprises Japanese udon served with shredded Australian abalone and a generous serving of sakura ebi. Topped off with a drizzle of truffle oil, its mix of fresh ingredients and quality seasoning provides an enchanting blend of tastes and textures.
2. Back To Basics with Banquet Chef Swee Lai Gan
Hailing from a humble family, Banquet Chef Swee Lai Gan’s career was born out of necessity. From a young age, he took various part-time jobs to make a living, many in the kitchen.
26 years later, he still considers the simple meal of mee pok with pork lard as his favourite dish. Although a big part of his passion and drive hail from his desire to express himself in his cooking, Chef Swee credits his team as the biggest factor for his success.
The humble chip is given an extreme makeover with this dish. It comprises a crunchy assortment of various root vegetables (beetroot, celeriac, taro, orange sweet potato, and lotus), thinly sliced and deep-fried at 140 degrees Celsius. The root vegetable chips are served alongside rolled-up cod fish beignet and seaweed crackers. To enjoy, simply use each chip to scoop up the shoyu espuma dipping sauce drizzled with truffle oil.
3. From Kyoto to Monaco: Keyaki’s Executive Chef Shinichi Nakatake
Soon after deciding to be a chef at age 18, Chef Shinichi Nakatake moved from Yokohama to Kyoto to learn the local, traditional methods of Japanese cooking. Later on, he made the long journey to Monaco to expand his knowledge and skillset as part of the team at Michelin-starred Joël Robuchon restaurant. Chef Nakatake used his passion for cooking to explore and challenge himself before becoming Keyaki’s Executive Chef today.
Chef Nakatake notes that beyond individual training and craftsmanship, a good team is also crucial to maintain the high standard of service and quality at Keyaki. Every individual in the team must be motivated.
“It is very important to be passionate about what you do. If you have the skills but no passion, it will be very hard to go far in this line of work,” adds Chef Nakatake.
Chef Nakatake’s Special: Kyoto Style Zensai
Inspired by his Kyoto-based training, Chef Nakatake created this zensai (前菜, meaning appetisers) with a combination of smoked duck, yuba (tofu skin), sesame tempura fig, fried prawn, miso-grilled aubergine, chimaki sushi, and boiled Japanese clam topped with uni.
The zensai is presented on a sea of fresh ice, signifying that only the finest and freshest Japanese ingredients are used.
4. Chocolate that Packs a Punch: Pastry Chef Eddy Yau
Pastry Chef Eddy Yau started working at his family’s bakery at the age of 12, where he was taught to believe in himself and to always accept challenges. Today, he is an ardent supporter of teamwork and taking initiative.
To Chef Yau, no one is able to achieve great things without the support of a team. He says, “Take care of your colleagues, and they will take care of you.”
At Pan Pacific Singapore, Chef Yau relished the opportunity to work with local ingredients such as gula melaka and coconut, infusing them into Western desserts—his favourite way of forging a unique alchemy between local and global tastes.
Chef Yau’s Special: Bahibe Bergamot Chocolate Cake
The Bahibe Bergamot Chocolate Cake is a little pastry dynamite packed with powerful flavours. It starts off with layers of raspberry chocolate, bergamot chocolate, and Bahibe milk chocolate on top of a crunchy base. The outer layers are enveloped with marbled chocolate glaze and served with a side of microwave sponge, raspberry soil, and passion fruit sauce. A citrus flavour balanced with the delicate scent of bergamot completes this decadently delicious confection.
5. Cuisine with a View: Pan Pacific Singapore Executive Chef Michele Greggio
Leaving Italy at age 24 was one of the hardest decisions for Executive Chef Michele Greggio. However, he chose to take the difficult step, driven by the passion to learn from the best masters of the culinary arts. When that no longer became an option, Chef Greggio supplemented his knowledge with culinary books.
Head of all the chefs in Pan Pacific Singapore, Executive Chef Greggio is always on the lookout for new inspiration and cooking styles to experiment with. As a leader and manager, he offers this same advice to anyone who wishes to follow his path to success: there are no shortcuts, especially in the kitchen.
Chef Greggio uses his native Italian staple risotto rice as a reflection of his soul, and pairs it with mild amberjack and other flavours he has discovered over his time in Asia. The result is wholly unique to his experience—an elegant dish with a hint of tang from the grapefruit and light spiciness from the pink peppercorn.
Visit Pan Pacific Singapore to enquire about this month’s dining offers served up by chefs, and our latest room and suite packages. Have your next meal with us!