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Malcolm Lee, the adventurous chef of Candlenut at 331 New Bridge Road.

Faith in heritage food pays off for chef

Jul 22, 2016 5:50 AM


YEARS of hard work preserving the recipes of his heritage and making it relevant to modern palates have finally paid off for Peranakan chef Malcolm Lee.

Having this globally-recognised award, he noted, will be a game-changer. "It means this heritage cuisine can stand on the same level as the others which receive more attention. Our food is special, and this helps show that."

Adds chef Lee: "I started making Peranakan food because it's what I like to eat, and funnily enough, my first kitchen was manned by my mum, myself, and three housewives. It took a while for me to build up the strong customer base I have now because people just didn't want to spend a lot of money on what they felt they could get at home."

His restaurant originally opened at Neil Road in 2010 but has since moved to New Bridge Road. It'll be shifting again in September to Dempsey, under the Como Dempsey project.

For now, chef Lee will be celebrating the recognition that comes with the award.

He said: "This winemaker came down to Candlenut with a Brunello which was rated 100 points by Robert Parker. He was going to see how well it paired with our food, but left it with me instead and told me to save it for a special occasion. I think this is it."