ContactMessage BoardsLinks  Home  
Featured Chefs
Hywel Jones
Christophe Megel
Rob Feenie
Previously Featured Chefs
Gourmet Articles
Environmental Kitchen
Cookbook Reviews
Recipe File
The Wine Guy
Career Center
Ask An Expert
Joachim Textor
featured chefs joachim textor
Bio & Interview
Name : Joachim Textor

Age : 39

Joachim’s Biography - after his apprenticeship in Germany he learned more intensively the Swiss - French cuisine in various first class establishments around Switzerland like the Hilton Hotel in Basel , Park-Hotel in Vitznau and Hyatt Hotel in Montreux. From there he moved on to London Hilton on Park lane, where again star rated top French cuisine were produced. In further to widen his culinary horizon he took the job opportunity to work on the German cruise vessel MS Europe and the only 6 star rated Yacht Sea Goddess 2. There he touched first time ground with the Far East region whilst cruising around 7 continents. A few years later his first taste of Asia was in The Peninsula Hotel/Philippines where he served as Sous-chef in their fine dining restaurant. Than he took the challenge into China serving as their opening Ex.Sous-Chef for the Shangri-La’s China World Hotel with 21 F&B outlets to be opened ( both members of the leading Hotels of the world ). In 1993 he took his first Executive Chef job position at The Bintang Bali Hotel in Bali/ Indonesia ( where he also has been the President of the Chef’s Association on the Island of the gods and organized one of the first Food Competition in Bali). From there he had the opportunity to work in Kuala Lumpur / Malaysia at The Dynasty Hotel and Tower. When the position for the Executive Chef at The Mandarin Hotel Singapore, Orchard Road became available in 1997 it was to good to resist.....

Tell us about the Mandarin Hotel. How many outlets do you oversee, how large is your banquet operation and how many covers do you produce for over the year?

Actually we have seven outlets and an extensive banqueting operation our Grand Ballroom can accommodate up to 1200. Our popular Chatterbox Coffeehouse which operates around the clock and the averages 1380 covers each day is quite unique. On a daily basis 40 % of the sales are for our signature dish the “ Hainanese Chicken Rice “ (this is a special type of chicken raised for us in Malaysia each one has a label to trace the source). We recently celebrated the 29th anniversary of our Coffeehouse. We have sold more than 1840 portion of this very popular dish in one day alone!

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

I oversee a culinary team of up and down 180 staff. Presently I have ten local Sous-Chefs; in addition to that I am having one expat sous chef and one expat pastry chef.

Communication - what is the language of your kitchen?

The language overall here in Singapore is English. Although a few of my elderly cooks were educated in Mandarin.

Training - Is this a big focus in your kitchen, if so is there a particular system you have in place to make this happen?

I am working very close with our Human Resource Dept. We are in the process of working out a detailed individual training plan for each position starting from a cook one, to lead cook and perhaps sous chef. In addition to this, various courses such as language courses and computer courses are offered to our staff as it has become more and more essential to work with computers on a daily base.

Do you have a problem recruiting kitchen staff; have you had to change the way you run your operation to compensate for staffing problems?

Most of the hotels in town are facing the similar problems of staff shortages. It can’t be avoided in the years to come, so we must make more use of convenience products - at least in the big banqueting area! Even so I am still this kind of chef who would likes to stick to freshness and produce everything possible in-house. But the times are fading or even gone, if I look back 20 years - when I had to make fresh French fries for example - from the scratch. That kind of manpower luxurious and cannot be afforded anymore. But still, I do not want to sacrifice on my food quality, even so I had to reduce my kitchen labor cost by 18 % over the past 4 years! The same goes for the food cost, which I am keeping in a good balance between 32 -33% overall.

Can you tell us about your life style both in work (hours and amount of days you work, cultural challenges and the structure of your working day) and out of work(social life, where you live, the commute to work and how you spend your days off)?

My commencement at work normally starts at 7.30 am checking the various breakfast outlets, which can go up occasionally to nearly 1000 persons a day. Later in the morning I am have short daily briefings with my outlet chefs, go down to the receiving area and check at the quality of food arriving Then it is time to start re mingling in the kitchens, checking on the food samples of the day, hygienic and sanitary standard and getting ready for lunch service. The afternoon is normally reserved for hiring - interviews or developing and typing of new recipes. Scheduling of staff as well planning of their annual leaves according to our business forecast is also a part of it. Also working on upcoming food promotions, either in-house or international. The evening normally ends for me at about 9 PM (if there is no outside catering or big banquet event). As an expat the working week is 6 days a week, compared to my country of origin which is Germany, I am working here in Singapore 48 days more I a year. My annual leave is 3 weeks plus public holidays. As I am living in the Hotel there is not too much social life left. I work out three nights a week followed by a steam bath, Jacuzzi or Sauna in order to refresh my mind. Usually on my day off I am taking my time with my Korean wife and we go for lunch in one of our regular Chinese restaurants in town or explore the authentically local places like museums, temples and bookstores to widen our horizons I think it is very important to understand and be knowledgeable about the country where I am working. Sometimes we just join friends for a casual BBQ. Sometimes we go to an island close by to Singapore either to Malaysia or Indonesia just to let go from the daily routine!

A piece of advice to a chef wishing to work in Singapore or any other Asian Country.

A few words: Flexibility, innovation, organization, people oriented, be ready to adapt to the local culture as well as to be patient - especially for young chefs who are coming out of Europe for the first time. Which goes certainly all beside the professionalism, which is expected anyhow. My tip out of own experiences: Even if you might not be satisfied your job in Asia try to complete at least your contract which you have signed up for. This could help you a lot in when you go for another job opportunity in this part of the world... Find out about the food of Singapore

Back to Top
Joachim on Singaporean Food
Joachim Goes To China
Joachim Goes To Korea
Asia 2002 Culinary Challenge
Joachim Goes To Hong Kong
Poached Turbot
Copyright © 2008