BlackBookCares Presents – “One To Watch” Group Executive Chef, Chef Seow Tzi Qin, Brewerkz (One Fullerton, Orchard Rendezvous Hotel, Indoor Stadium, Riverside Point) & Cafe Iguana Riverside Point
Family is at the heart of everything Chef Seow Tzi Qin, or “Chef TQ”, does. He strongly believes that for family, you will always strive to be reliable, consistent and to do your best, no matter the circumstances. He brings that philosophy to the kitchen and believes that you will be the best version of yourself if you treat your kitchen staff, front of house and customers as your family.
That sense of reliability, consistency and doing one’s best has followed him through the myriad of cuisines he has experienced in his career, be it fiery woks and double boiled soups at Tung Lok Classics, tandoori and masala indian thali at Singapore Airlines, French entrees at the highly acclaimed Le Saint Julien and Les Amis, intense Spanish flavours at La Taperia, Asian-European fusion as he helmed the kitchen at 1919 Waterboat House.
Chef Seow Tzi Qin now heads up and manages the five restaurants in the Brewerkz family as the Group Executive Chef, including opening the newest Brewerkz One Fullerton in a style all his own. He has brought his signature Asian-European style with imagination and creativity, while keeping his food honest and not pretentious, transforming Brewerkz’s traditionally American bar food menu with delightful effect.
Outside of the kitchen, Chef TQ relishes (no prizes for guessing) family time and also keeping fit through exercise. He attributes his penchant for working out to the fact that he’s constantly tasting food in the kitchen and therefore needs to burn off the extra calories.
1. What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. The creative spark is a significant part of the chef’s process but the most important part to me is the ability to grind – to repeat and repeat and repeat until your dish is as close to perfect as possible. That dedication and perfectionism is what I stand for as a chef.
2. Name your most Favorite dish on the menu? And why?
All my new creations that are exclusive to the respective outlets are my favorites. As a “parent”, you cannot favor one dish over the other, especially when you have poured equal amounts of your heart and soul into each of them.
3. Main considerations when it comes to choosing your ingredients?
Quality, availability and sustainability.
4. How do you see the growing demands for sustainable produce affecting the food world?
I think this movement is vital to the F&B industry and beneficial for the future generations. With certain core values like avoiding food waste, supporting local produce and choosing alternative protein, it will positively reduce the carbon footprint and impact the society as a whole.
5. If you weren’t a chef, or in the food business, what would you be?
A teacher/instructor. As a beneficiary of the notion of community giving, it’s fulfilling to “pay it forward” and pass down to the society what I have learnt during my journey. At the end of the day, my goal is to make a difference in more lives, to inspire and identify the best fit (professionally or personally) for each individual, and nurture them to be ready for their next chapter.
6. Do you have a memorable food experience that impacted you as a child or young chef?
Watching my mum cook and eating the food she prepared for us when I was young inspired me to pursue the culinary journey.If there is one type of flavour profile that is almost impossible to replicate, its “mummy’s food”.
7. What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The teamwork and camaraderie we experience every day in the kitchen. Every curated menu and service requires organisation and tactical planning in order to nail it and run smoothly. It’s just like conducting an orchestra. More importantly, as the leader of the kitchen, you have to know your teammates intimately and place them into the right stations in order for each of them to shine.
8. Other than creating good food, what are the most important qualities that make a successful chef?
AQ (Adaptibility Quotient), Foresight, Organisation, Management and Networking.
9. If you had a choice of anything for your last meal, what would you choose to have?
A piping hot plate of Nasi Lemak, with spicy sweet sambal on the side.
10. Do you have any tips for budding chefs or restaurateurs?
A key motto to live by is: Experience, Practice, then Mastery. Learning goes a long way, be patient and take time to build a strong foundation. When the opportunity comes, take the leap of faith to plunge into the unknown as you will never know what adventures the future has in store for you.