AJAY PARAG | 39, Director, Lucha Loco | This owner of Duxton Hill’s (currently) only Mexican outpost is quite the host, and it shows in how he runs his operations: from keeping his brown eyes on food quality control and the music, to human resources, nothing escapes him. Did you know: Ajay often DJs at Lucha Loco under the moniker "El Mysterio". He is addicted to tacos, keeping fit, and loves a smoky mezcal on the rocks.
ANNE-CECILE DEGENNE | 31, Head Culinary Designer at Sofitel So Singapore | Chef Anne moves to Singapore from the paradise island of St. Barts to oversee all the restaurants at the new Sofitel So (Opening in May 2014) at Robinson Road. The French chef is Singapore’s first, female hotel executive chef and a typical day for her includes breakfast with the team, greeting guests, checking ingredients, set-up of the menus, kitchen preparations, briefings, meetings, and more meetings. Did you know: When the hands-on chef is not in the kitchen, she likes to unwind by windsurfing.
ADRIAN MAH | 35, Director, TAB and Club Sonar | By day this floppy-haired powerhouse is a concert promoter for stars like White Lies at his 600-person standing-room venue, TAB. After the sun goes down, he runs the operations and marketing for Club Sonar (what TAB converts into at night) - which partly translates into him possessing a strong tolerance for drinking and socialising. Did you know: Adrian has quite the fascination with the zombie genre - films, books and games. He is definitely one to know if and when a zombie apocalypse descends.
ANTOINE ROULAND | 29, Owner, O Batignolles | Here is the man behind the wine bar on Club Street, modelled after a French village bistro. To ensure that O Batignolles is the go-to spot for affordable French wines from boutique vineries, Antoine's regularly tours the wine regions of France and meets with independent winemakers every three months to discover the best wines to import to Singapore. He is passionate about discovering unknown wines with a strong story behind. Did you know: He can cook an entirely wine-based dinner (from starter to dessert)
ANDREA SCARPA | 27, Group Executive Chef, Da Paolo Group | Here’s a man you’ll never go hungry with: the youngest – and most media shy – of the family that owns the Da Paolo Group, Andrea is responsible for experimenting and creating new dishes in the Group’s central kitchen daily. From his dishes, you know he’s got quite the creative mind – cured salmon with pasta sheet wedged into a calamansi appetiser? We’re sold. Did you know: Andrea hits the gym everyday, and is a regular at events such as the Australian Tough Mudder, to which he will specially travel to this year and challenge himself to a 16-to-19 kilometre-long military-style obstacle course. That’s plenty of mental and physical endurance in one package.
BANNIE KANG | 25, Craftsman, Anti:dote | A woman who mixes, sharp-shoots and plucks, though all in the name of work. You’ll find this pint-sized top 10-placer of the Diageo Reserve World Class Singapore 2014 semi-finals shaking up tonic-like cocktails every night at Anti:dote, using the herbs she handpicks from the bar’s herb garden. Did you know: Bannie’s got quite the set of vocal chords on her, she can belt out some mean Korean tunes.
CARLOS MONTOBBIO | 26, Head Chef, Anti:dote| Carlos may look he was taken right out of a Millenials boyband, but he is the head chef of Fairmont Singapore’s Anti:dote. He leads the kitchen in preparing and planning the modern tapas menu at the ground-floor bar. A keen believer in the spontaneous pairings of different flavours, he is always experimenting with different ingredients to bring a variety of textures and tastes. Did you know: Carlos likes constructing models with Lego pieces, the same way he enjoys experimenting with different ingredients in his dishes.
CHRISTOPHER TAN | 32, Managing Director, Nara Thai Restaurant | This baby-faced MD of Nara Thai Restaurant is an industrious traveller, though it is more for work these days - from the new Nara Thai Restaurant at Westgate Mall to industry seminars, you won’t find him sitting still in one place for long. Did you know: Christopher was a naval officer for 12 years, which explains his loves of ships and the sea.
DENISE TAN | 27, Marketing & Communications Manager, Unlisted Collection | This cutie patootie isn’t all cuddles (please don't attempt that) – as the marketing and communications manager for restaurants like The Market Grill and Bincho, she’s the serious brains behind making them top recall for, well, everyone. Always in the know, you can be sure she's at the center of a good night out with quality food and drinks. Did you know: She speaks better Spanish than Mandarin? She makes a very useful travel companion to Spain.
EDWARD ESMERO | 34, Chef-Partner, My Little Spanish Place | This rugged-looking chef is one-half of the creative brains at the bookable online Bukit Timah Spanish restaurant and oversees the front of house. This all-rounder enjoys experimenting and putting his own touches to traditional Spanish dishes, even though we’re perfectly happy with his crisp cochinillo asado (Spanish suckling pig). Did you know: Edward is also a killer on the dance floor – he dances the jota, which is the Spanish bullfighter dance, and does the Zumba religiously. He was once approached to be a Zumba instructor.
JANICE WONG | 30, Chef-Artist, 2am:dessertbar | Asia’s 50 ‘Best Pastry Chef’ 2014 didn’t get to where she is just by possessing raw talent. The ever-positive chef is also a tenacious soul: she starts her day at 8am with a cup of piccolo latte at her Holland Village dessert restaurant, and it’s not unusual to find her ending her day there close to midnight. Did you know: You can count on Janice to always have a new sweet treat up her sleeve, she poses a daily new dish challenge to herself and also paints on the side.
JERROLD KHOO | 24, Bartender, Jigger & Pony | Jerrold doesn't just concoct cocktails, the perpetual-sharp-dresser is always looking to create positive memories for his guests - now that is passion and dedication. Did you know: Jerrold loves rock and used to be in a rock and roll band called Gutter Bonez. After hours he morphs into an oldie-record listening, classic absinthe-drinking bartender.
JODY ADLER | 27, Restaurant Manager, &Sons | He’s been endearingly called “Jimmy Fallon” (by us when we showed up for lunch one day), but he should not be mistaken for the Late Night talkshow host. Jody’s work is no less important (or daunting) - he oversees the daily operations of this China Square Italian small plates restaurant, making sure his team delivers the best Italian hospitality to their patrons. Did you know: Those who do know him say that he settles in very easily to any place he goes.
JULIE QUILLE | 38, Receptionist and Brand Liaison of TRE Group, Absinthe | Julie is the person who will ensure you enjoy a flawless dining experience well before you arrive at Absinthe. Of her many duties at the French restaurant at Boat Quay, she also manages the phone lines and when the restaurant is busy, you might be lucky enough to have her serving your table. Did you know: Call it a job hazard, but she won’t let her phone ring for more than once before answering. Being in charge of all reservations at Absinthe, you’re almost guaranteed a table if you drop her a line.
KENTARO TORII | 32, Chef de Cuisine, Forlino | Beneath Kentaro’s reserved demeanour and boyish looks is a force to be reckoned with: the head of the Forlino kitchen is in charge of more than just serving good food - the Kanagawa-born chef does all the menu planning, infusing contemporary Italian fine dining with subtle Japanese finishes. Did you know: Kentaro is one of a handful of Japanese chefs in Singapore to specialise in Italian cooking.
KEVIN PETRIE | 31, Bar Manager, The Secret Mermaid | A typical day at work for this approachable red-haired manager involves meetings to go over the specials (spirits) of the day and distillery information to share with customers. Come night time, Kevin gets down to making the signature cocktails and educational (American craft spirits-leaning) conversation: he runs this underground CBD bar as a tasting room first, and a bar-slash-restaurant second, and believes that sharing information is caring. Did you know: Kevin used to run a mezcal bar in Guatemala for two years. Feel free to quiz him on agave spirits.
LI RUIFANG | 30, Hawker, 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles | This third generation hawker has a precious secret, she guards a prawn noodles recipe from her grandfather. The graduate in Economics and Finance wakes up at 1.30am daily to be at her stall in Tekka Market by 2.30am so she can begin her four-hour cooking preparations. With the help of her parents at the stall, her noodles are usually sold out by 3pm, and by 5pm she is home to get some rest. Did you know: She loves lovebirds. She has six of them as pets, and has been hand-feeding them since they were mere birdlings. She loves them so dearly she’s left their wings unclipped.
LOUIS STACHER | 27, Assistant Restaurant and Bar Manager, One-Ninety Bar by Javier de las Muelas | The day for this fit assistant manager begins with a double espresso, a quick check of his emails, and a tour of the bar. As it progresses, he knocks back another single espresso, does some briefings, training sessions and brainstorms. Despite having so much going on, Louis never falls short of the Four Seasons service standards; always attentive and a couple of steps ahead of his customers. Did you know: This is the eighth country Louis has lived in. He was born in Bali, Indonesia and subsequently, lived in Seoul, Korea, Bangkok, Thailand, Cairo, Egypt, and then Australia, Switzerland, Malaysia and Singapore. In Hayman Island, Australia, he attended the smallest state school in Australia for two years where there were only six children, an assistant and a teacher.
MAIKO TAKASHISHO | 30, Assistant Manager, Ki-Sho | Observe Maiko at work, and you’ll realise she is the life of any party: her interaction with the guests and her colleagues comes across easily and naturally. Did you know: For someone with such a petite frame, Maiko has a big appetite. Off work hours, you can find her out eating and drinking with friends.
MARK GRAHAM THOMAS | 28, Bar Manager, Bacchanalia | He starts his day at noon by getting down and dirty with his bar boys - they take about two hours to hand-cut the ice, juice citrus fruit and prep cordials and syrups. He then slips in an hour at the gym before donning his uniform. Ever cautious and hardworking, Mark then conducts a cocktail test ahead of the doors opening. Never content, he is constantly looking for new ideas and interesting ingredients to play around with and to push his colleagues to be the best they can be. Did you know: Mark is a huge fan of 'The Dark Knight'. It is not the cape or cool gadgets that he resonates with, it is that Batman is a superhero without super powers who chooses to make a difference. Mark applies the same sentiment to his work and life, always looking to do that one random act of kindness every day.
SHASHA RENEE | 29, Account Manager, Food News Public Relations | It may seem like Shasha has the best job in the world - and she does - she gets to try the latest food menus ahead of everyone in town and share the best dishes with her journalists and blogger friends. Go ahead, ask her what's brewing at District 10. But she works hard for her job too - behind the many meals are endless copy writing, press release-sending and catching-up on published clippings. Did you know: This long-haired hottie uses restaurants and bars as landmarks to navigate her way through Singapore. All part of the job? Sure.
SOPHIE WHEATLEY | 24, Assistant Manager, &Sons | The second-in-command of the floor at &Sons does more than wait tables with her infectious smile, anecdotes and jokes, The UK-native does a great job entertaining (and attending to) her customers. Did you know: Sophie has a little bit of a ‘copycat personality’ – she is able to pick up on other people’s traits and quirks if she spends enough time around them.
TOM HOGAN | 28, Head Craftsman, Anti:dote | One of three winners in the second semi-finals of the Diageo Reserve World Class 2014 competition (the Tanqueray No. TEN tea and tonic challenge), this suave cocktail crafter won by sticking to his recipe: part inspiration, part intuition and a dash of experimentation, with a foundation of housemade bitters and flavoured liqueurs. Did you know: Tom is a graduate of the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago and is a trained sculptor. He sculpted the little man at the back of Anti:dote’s bar counter.
TREVOR PAULO | 27, Sous Chef, Saint Pierre | As the sous chef, Trevor is the bridge between the chef de cuisine and the service staff, so every day is a balancing and largely diplomatic act for him. It is wonder this boy-next-door second-in-command is also a good multi-tasker and motivator. Trevor looks forward to the satisfaction he gains from getting through a challenging day or event with his entire team. Did you know: Trevor is an avid collector of posable comic figurines from select comics. He is also able to remember movie scripts and lyrics really well, a definite asset at trivia night.
VINCENT KOW YONG SHENG | 23, Bartender, Fordham & Grand | You can find this dapper dude behind the bar-counter at the Craig Road cocktail bar. From bar set-up to creating new cocktails and ensuring a clean and disciplined bar, Vincent does it all. Did you know: He goes to the gym every day before his shift, and on his way to work reads or watches motivataional stuff to prep for the day ahead.
VIVIEN SIM | 25, Senior Associate, Jigger & Pony | A typical day begins with setting up the Amoy Street venue, filling jugs of water (got to keep everyone hydrated), fixing the wobbles on tables, and setting up reservations. Once that is done, the pixie-like senior associate’s job is to serve up drinks to guests and striking light-hearted conversations with their intoxicated souls. This is how Vivien ensures her patron’s stay is an enjoyable and memorable one. Did you know: She used to play field hockey and still rides horses. When not at work, you can find her rocking out to Deep Purple songs on her guitar.