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Contrarian chefs' backstories


RISHI Naleendra used to daydream about getting a Michelin star. Then he got one, and now he's given it up. Why?

Singaporean chef Jimmy Lim carved out a successful career in western fine dining in Taiwan. But when he was given a chance to open his own restaurant, he decided to serve high-end Singaporean food to a critical clientele who knew nothing about nasi lemak or shrimp paste. How did his gamble play out?

Freddie Lee and Purdey Poon struggled to keep their French bistro Infuzi afloat, and then gave it up three years ago to open a profitable, if safe, pizza venture. But the passion for cooking and developing recipes never left Chef Lee - and now, he and his wife are making a comeback into the restaurant scene. What can diners expect?

In Friday's issue of Weekend magazine, we tell the personal stories of these established chefs who have been through the school of hard knocks and are now at a turning point in their careers. They talk about how they got to where they are, what drives them and their plans for the future.

Speaking of the future, Carolyn Kan had hers mapped out the moment she met an Italian silversmith in Florence in 2008 and was inspired to create the now household name, Carrie K jewellery. She looks back on the 10 years since she quit her high-flying corporate job in 2009, and her work in helping emerging designers to do the same.

Meanwhile, if you're thinking of heading out for a drink after work, check out some of the new bars in town. Or dig into heritage treats by food entrepreneurs who are turning their family recipes into small businesses.

Elsewhere, find out how to use plants in your home, browse through the latest watches from Basel and binge-watch the latest Netflix show, Triple Frontier.