Chef Alan Chan on Cantonese Cuisine at Cassia, Capella Singapore
This chef's addition to the talented team at Cassia, Capella Singapore is as grand and incredible as the hotel itself. Executive Chef Alan Chan previously honed his skills as Executive Chef at Jeju Shinhwa World Marriott Resort, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, and led the culinary team at one-Michelin-starred restaurant Jiang Nan Chun. He was awarded the Asian Cuisine Chef Chef of the year at the World Gourmet Summit Singapore in 2019, Outstanding Chef in 2017 and International Master Chef in 2018 at the World Top Gourmet Awards.
But despite his remarkable accomplishments, Chef Alan is a man of humility, professionalism and respectable culinary skills. He holds every lesson close to his heart and carries it wherever he goes during his over 30 years of experience. At Cassia, he puts his passion for Cantonese cuisine and craft to the plate. His artful and innovative creation of contemporary Cantonese cuisine takes traditional recipes to modern-day palates. Here, we chat with Chef Alan about his fruitful culinary journeys at Capella.
1. What do you love about Cantonese cuisine?
Cantonese cuisine is flexible, and the ingredients can be cooked different; a simple dish can be changed drastically by tweaking its taste from sweet, sour, bitter and spicy, perfect for any taste buds. I have also visited various places in Asia and Europe to taste different cuisines, and it has changed today. The overall feeling of Cantonese cuisine is that the ingredients of the dishes are fresh, and the seasoning is exquisite. This is the essence of Cantonese cuisine.
2. Can you describe your cooking philosophy?
As professional chefs, we must uphold the spirit of excellence in all our work. Every dish has undergone countless trials and adjustments, as all dishes have to be consistent in taste and quality. As a chef, we must continue fine-tuning the various ingredients as they are the main stars of the dishes. Providing the best quality to diners is our way of respecting guests and standards for chefs around us to uphold.
3. What do you wish to bring to the diverse culinary scene of Singapore?
2001從我的家鄉’香港‘美食之都轉戰新加坡接近22年，這20多年曾經走訪過亞洲及歐洲各地品嘗過不同菜系，我也剛剛從韓國高級酒店工作五年回來，這次回來新加坡加入Capella Singapore 我會把入廚多年粵菜精粹⋯⋯再推上更高層次
In 2001, I moved from my hometown to Singapore for nearly 22 years. I have also just returned from working as a chef in a high-end Korean hotel for five years. Now that I have joined Capella Singapore, I will be bringing the essence of Cantonese cuisine that I have been refining for many years to push to new heights.
Cassia’s new menu will consist mainly of (90%) traditional Cantonese cuisine. However, during the process of revamping Cassia’s menu, I am implementing the essence of Cantonese cooking, from braising to stewing.
4. You were awarded the Asian Cuisine Chef of the year award at the World Gourmet Summit Singapore in 2016, Outstanding Chef in 2017 and International Master Chef in 2018 at the World Top Gourmet Awards. What has been your greatest moment in your culinary career?
During my culinary journey, I have faced many ups and downs. I am grateful for any awards that I have gotten through my journey. As I achieve more recognition and affirmation, I will continue to work harder for my future in the culinary world.
I have been a chef for almost 34 years and have served many people from various political backgrounds and leaders. My most memorable and proud experience will be serving Mr Lee Kwan Yew. During this period, I have curated menus for their dinner parties while serving Mr Lee for close to five years. A fond memory was when Mr Lee spoke with me, and I listened attentively like a child.
I have also made a nourishing soup named after him, which I carefully fine-tuned specially for him and gave him every month to boost his health.
5. What advice would you give to yourself at the start of your culinary journey?
Going on this culinary journey will take a lot of hard work and perseverance (from long working hours to work over the weekends).
As a junior chef, working and learning on the job can be challenging. I strongly believe in the phrase when you’re starting out of “not being afraid to be at the bottom”. You will not get the full opportunity to learn on the job due to the working environment in the kitchen as all chefs will be tied up and busy. Being a chef now, I have decided to observe and pay attention to the quality of each chef’s dishes.
Chefs will have their off-duty time taken up to learn skills such as “the breath of the wok”, which requires much time and effort to develop as a chef to cut vegetables. If you put in the effort, you will see results. You will see zero results if you don’t put in any effort. To grasp what it takes to be a good chef in a kitchen requires time and effort, a journey that is not easy. For any young individual thinking of becoming a chef, do not give up easily! It would be best if you have ambitions before you set goals for yourself!
'For any young individual thinking of becoming a chef, do not give up easily! It would be best if you have ambitions before you set goals for yourself!' - Alan Chan.
6. How would you describe the dining scene at Cassia, Capella Singapore?
Cassia, at Capella Singapore, brings guests an elegant experience. I have also masterfully curated some of the traditional Cantonese dishes in the restaurant.
All imagery is provided by Capella Singapore.
Address: 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098297 | Website: capellahotels.com/en/capella-singapore/dining/cassia | Phone: +65 6591 5045 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Instagram: @capellasingapore | Facebook: @capellasingapore.sentosa