5 Ways To Identify a Chef-Led Restaurant
Chef-led restaurants are all the rage now and one of the selection criteria for a restaurant to be featured in our book Table Tales. So, identifying a chef-led restaurant isn’t really rocket science, but choosing one that would provide you a truly divine dining experience is an art. Here are five ways to identify a Chef-Led restaurant.
1. The definition
Let’s start with the basics. A “chef-driven” restaurant is one where the head chef designs all the items on the menu based on his or her own personal style using specifically sourced ingredients.
A “chef-driven” menu is a menu featuring these types of dishes. The ingredients could be things chosen from the local farmers market, specifically imported from a foreign country that you can’t get everywhere, or simply a chef’s favorite producers.
As a diner, you know that you get food designed and created by that specific chef – and if that chef left the restaurant, the food would most likely have a different twist as the new chef “drove” his own menu.
2. Intimate experiences
Intimacy is the rule of the day for chef-led restaurant. You can expect personal service. Chef-owners are personally invested in the satiation of their diners, and their complete satisfaction with the menu they designed. They often feature an open kitchen concept so the chef can be part of the dining experience and diners can be part of the kitchen experience.
You can literally taste the passion chef-owners have for their food. It comes with the empowerment that they can create and control almost every aspect of the dining experience for you. Every element of your dish from sauces or condiments to dressings and rubs are frequently made by hand from scratch. In addition, the restaurant itself is often an extension of the chef and his background. From design to props to light to cutlery and crockery – each element is hand-picked by the chef to serve the concept of the restaurant.
Quality is of utmost importance – with controlled dining traffic, every chef-owner is hellbent on ensuring that their food quality is the best. Every day and every time. Focus is on quality and less on convenience.
5. The Name on the Door
Guess what? A restaurant named after a celebrity chef doesn’t automatically make it a chef-led restaurant. Chef-owners usually have only 1 restaurant that they pour heart and soul into. They are there every day of the week and (almost) every service. And that, my friends, is a delicacy I will appreciate any day.
An unforgettable evening
With chef-led restaurants, you’re almost always guaranteed to have great service and quality food. However, in my opinion, it’s not just those two factors that shape your dining experience.
Think about the last time you had a truly unforgettable evening in a restaurant.
The interior of the restaurant is cosy and inviting, the servers are attentive and warm, the food is delicious, and the ambience is just right. Though the chatter of fellow diners fill up the place, it serves as nice background hum while you chat with your friends. It’s like the world around you has dissolved and you’re in this private and personal bubble.
It’s moments like these that will be etched in our memories long after the experience is over. Your senses create the first positive impression, but your emotions carry the memories forward. Through the combination of ambience, concept, service and food, a simple dining experience is elevated to a treasured memory.
Creating memories with Table Tales
And that is what you’ll find in Table Tales – a curated guide of 10 restaurants (measured by their ambience, concept, service and food) built on the philosophy that dining is about connecting with your loved ones and creating lasting memories. Its 2019 iteration – and also its fourth edition – was launched on November 1 and every recommendation is genuine and ad-free.
Each restaurant in the book has been sampled by myself and my partner, Peter, and has come onboard on an invite-only basis. Ever the avid foodies, we have travelled across Singapore to more than 50 restaurants and sampled over 200 dishes to create this list of extraordinary dining destinations that we hope you’ll enjoy as much as we did.
In addition to dining privileges at each restaurant, the book grants you an opportunity for an intimate meet-and-greet session with the chef. Ever wondered about the inspiration behind a particular dish or where the chef sources their exquisite ingredients from? This is the time to ask your burning questions and to hear it straight from the culinary geniuses themselves.
Through experiences like these, we hope to change the way you dine out and how people view restaurants because Table Tales isn’t just another food guide.
Table Tales is in the business of creating memories.
Images used in this article feature different chefs of the restaurants that are featured in Table Tales Singapore 2019.
From top to bottom they are: Tippling Club with Andrew Loudon, Ryan Clift and Ayo Adeyemi ~ Jag with Anant Tyagi and Jeremy Gillon ~ Morsels with Petrina Loh ~ Gattopardo with Lino Sauro ~ Artemis with Oliver Hyde
Table Tales features our favourite restaurants in Singapore. Every year we try and test 50+ restaurants and share our favourites with you in our lovely book. Restaurants are invited to join and cannot pay to be featured. We see our book as your little shortlist to experience special moments, unique dinner experiences to share with that special someone in your life.
With your copy of Table Tales you will enjoy special privileges at each restaurant. It’s their way of saying, thanks for visiting and your support! We hope you had a great night and here’s something from us.
That’s not all though – your book will also serve as your personal memento of time well spent when you meet the chef and (s)he signs your book at the end of the evening – a keepsake of all the memories you have created.
What are those privileges? You will get a complimentary main course OR 20% off both set menus, when you’re a table of two. Book your table now, highlighting you’ll bring Table Tales and have a wonderful evening.