Saturday, 24 March 2012

World Gourmet Series Awards of Excellence

The World Gourmet Series Awards of Excellence presentation ceremony took place today, recognising the past year’s achievements by the hardworking members of Singapore’s F&B industry.  Awards ranged all the way from Restaurant of the Year to various apprenticeships and scholarships for budding young talents. Along the way, I was lucky enough to pick up the Montblanc Food Writer of the Year award.  My winning submission, At Your Service (September/October 2011 edition of Flavours Magazine), was based on my two-week front-of-house stint at Les Amis Restaurant.  It was great also to meet two fellow food writing finalists Gavin Nazareth, who flew down all the way from Bangkok for the Awards, and Virginia Brumby, director at Survival Chic.

You can't tell I'm happy from the look on my face
Thanks so much to the team at Les Amis for putting up with me, and to my editors at Flavours, Julie Wong and Ng Tse Mei, for their support and indulging my occasional excesses for the last 5 years.  Special thanks also to June Wong and Malini Dias, my original editing team at StarMag, who gave me my first break in 2003/4 and at whose doorstep all of my literary sins subsequent to that date can be placed  ;)

A little extract from my article follows below.
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“I am a diner.  I am, as the French would say in their charming fashion, an amateur of haute cuisine.  I love it all, from the quality of the ingredients, the precision of techniques and preparation, the synchronicity of service, right down to the weight of the cutlery, the ceremony and sense of occasion.

But today, as lunch draws to a close at Les Amis, I slump into a chair, fatigued.  My feet are deadly sore and I am hungry enough to eat a nine-course meal.  Assistant manager Zaki Feisal walks over.  But unlike our previous encounters, he wasn’t about to offer me a digestif for the road.  Instead, he claps me on the shoulder.  “Rough start, huh?” is the best he can offer.  I grunt. 

I hope you don’t think I was being rude, but I had spent the last three hours on my feet feeding total strangers and pandering to their every whim and fancy. I was variously thanked, pulled up on my mistakes, tugged each and every way where help was needed.  Through it all, I forced a smile and muttered inane pleasantries through gritted teeth.  At long last, the tables had been turned on me.
I was a waiter....
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(Click here to finish the adventure and read the original version from the magazine)

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