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Rainer Zinngrebe
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How large is your brigade, how many sous chefs do you have and are they all "expats"?

I have a fairly small brigade here consisting of only 70 cooks including 10 sous chefs, of those only 2 are expatriates, the chef de cuisine for the TOWN restaurant and the pastry chef. All of the other sous chefs are either Singaporean or Malaysian with the exception of the Indian Sous Chef who is a ‘’real’’ Indian from Delhi.

Communication - what is the language of your kitchen?

We generally communicate in English. As Singapore is mainly Chinese but is also close to Malaysia, it helps to gain respect if you can speak a few bits of Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay although it is not necessary for communication purposes.

Why did you choose to work in Asia?

I didn’t really choose to work here, it was more an act of faith. I was looking for a job while I was working in Chicago and really wanted to move to Australia at that time, due to visa challenges etc. I wasn’t progressing with that, so I called a guy by the name of Franz Kranzfelder who was the Executive Chef at the Hong Kong Hilton at the time and asked him if he knew of any jobs down under, he called me back and said that he didn’t know of anything in Australia, but what would I think of coming to Hong Kong working as a restaurant chef for Margaux at the Kowloon Shangri La Hotel. Well what could I say? “Yes” of course – and that is how I came to Asia. Five countries later I am still here and enjoying it.

How has it shaped or influenced your culinary style?

It has influenced me greatly, I have come to appreciate and integrate into my style the different ingredients available, the different cooking utensils, cooking methods and styles. I have also learned to understand and appreciate the social and cultural importance of food to most Asian societies. My personal style today is what I call “trans ethnic” cuisine and that is reflected greatly in my book.

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