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Interview

At The Table With: KK Kong, Executive Chef at Sentosa Golf Club, VP of Singapore Chefs Association, 2022 National Team Manager

12 October 2021 by Food&HotelAsia

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Hi Chef Kong! What has been keeping you busy during 2021?

For 2021, is a challenging year for everyone. I’m occupied with planning for 2022 for World Chefs Congress Abu Dubai, Expogast Culinary World Cup, as well as my own work sending my staff for training , planning more new menus to launch when banquets are allowed.  Always thinking and planning of ways to save cost and achieve more revenue.

The pandemic has left its mark on the F&B and hospitality industries, and many lessons to be learnt in order to be more resilient. From your own personal journey of the disruption that came about as a result of the pandemic, can you give one or two examples of valuable lessons?

During this downtime – I learned how to appreciate life, people and work even more.

– My Company (Sentosa Golf Club) which has always been there for us (the team) to support and take care of all staff, at all times.

– Team work – “None of us is not as smart as all of you”

How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy?

“Doing what you love is not a recipe for an easier life, it a recipe for an interesting life”. Being a cook/chef is never easy especially when we start our career, but we will enjoy the journey.

What is your favourite, and most difficult dish to prepare?

Favourite – Minced Pork and Stewed Mushroom Mee Pok with chilli padi. There shouldn’t be a difficult dish to prepare, as long we put in our heart and passion in what we are doing and not just cooking, it will overcome the difficulty.

Name the top three ingredients you cannot do without?

Butter, Salt & Fresh Herbs.

If you can pick a country or city apart from Singapore to be based at, where would it be and why?

Australia – wonderful people, balanced lifestyle, and freshest products.

Outside your profession, what are you most passionate about?

Singapore Chefs’ Association – Spending a lot of time working/trying to spread awareness to more people, collaborating with partners for funding on behalf of Singapore Chefs’ Association for upcoming major competitions and events.

Advice for aspiring or new breed culinary professionals?

“Work hard with Passion”

Quote:

Someone who cook for a living, will just earn a living

Someone who cooks with passion will bring you to another higher level

As National Team Manager for 2022, will preparing for the competition be any different compared to past editions?

Yes for sure it a big difference, facing more obstructions. Gathering funding from partners will be tougher as markets and businesses are slower. National team chefs will face more challenges  balancing work and competition training as manpower in each organisation are seeing shortages.

Lastly, what will the next few years going to be like, and how to best prepare for what is to come?

Looking forward it is going to be bright and sunny; we have seen the first light of dawn – the world is re-opening! J To prepare, we must stay positive and maintain the passion in what we do, and try to achieve even better further!

Chef Kong will be participating in a panel session titled ‘Fine Food Forward: A Chefs’ Discussionon Guest Experience, Professional Skill, Future of Dining and Resilience’ on 27 October, Day 1 of FHA Match: Fine Food. The discussion will also feature Eric Neo, Executive Chef, President of Singapore Chefs Association (SCA), Koh Hanjie, Head Chef & National Team Captain 2022, Ong Jing Qin, Chef, President of Singapore Junior Chefs Club, Gary Lim, Temasek Polytechnic Instructor, President of Singapore Pastry Alliance. Register free to catch this session: https://bit.ly/3FCdF9A 

 

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