Making it in the food world. Singapore, like the U.S. in the Twenties

Oct 10 2019, 13:10 | by Gambero Rosso
There are no seasons, and humidity is brutal. Yet Singapore is constantly at the top among the most sought-after destinations for those who want to change their life and their work.

HSBC confirms it in its annual ranking on the best countries in the world for expats, taking into consideration the world of work, quality of life, safety and environment.

The advantages of working in Singapore

For four consecutive times, from 2015 to 2018, Singapore won first place, bypassed only by Switzerland in the 2019 ranking released in July. Those who move there can see a wage increase of 29%, according to the investigation results, with an average annual salary of US$160,000. It's equally important to tell the stories of the Italians who are reaping success in work

Mirko Febbrile, from McDonald’s to the Braci restaurant in Singapore

Let's start with a striking case: Mirko Febbrile, 28, of Bitonto. After studying at hotel management school, and maturing experience in Mestre, he worked for years in the town bar, next to the Basilica of Santi Medici, selling rotisserie chicken and chopping tons of potatoes. To pay for his university studies, from 2011 to 2014 he worked at McDonald's: "You will not believe it, but that's where I learned what quality means, what it means to adhere to a protocol, maintain product constancy, respect a timetable: after 10 minutes unsold sandwiches were discarded". In 2015 he followed two fellow graduates, left everything and moved to Singapore to work with Beppe De Vito.

Humble, curios, talented, in a short time he gained full confidence, so much as to entrust his work at the helm of Braci, the flagship club of the ilLido group. Here he raises the bar, experiments with high temperatures, fermentations, contaminations. At the age of 26 he is now the head chef of Braci, Tre Forchette in our Top Italian Restaurants, and then gaining a Michelin star in 2017.

Not all that glitters is gold. What are the downsides in Singapore dining?

"The food waste here is very high, ingredient culture is lacking, 95% of the food is imported, I try to reuse the waste with different preparations. For me it's not essential that products come from Italy, but rather that they are respected to the maximum and valued in their best profile. Singapore is the perfect destination for a chef, everything comes from Australia, Japan, Europe, spices. It's super stimulating".

Antonio Valentini, restaurant manager and wine director at Garibaldi

Another beautiful story belongs to Antonio Valentini, restaurant manager and wine director at Garibaldi, the perfect host of a dream wine cellar. "I arrived here without any contacts, I started from the bottom, in the beginning I also painted the walls of the restaurant. Here I learned a lot about the nuances of vintage, working on the millesimes and on evolutions".

Simone Macri, restaurant manager at Jaan

In closing, Simone Macri, restaurant manager at Jaan, Kirk Westaway's modern British kitchen, among the most stimulating experiences among fine dining in the city, with more character than many similar menus in far as ingredients and preparations. Simone, formerly Armani restaurant manager in Tokyo, revolutionized the wine list, his hospitality is perfect: "Singapore is even more international than Tokyo, the language barrier is minimal, customers have vast economic possibilities and want to discover new things". And there's plenty of stellar tips...

by Lorenzo Ruggeri

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