“Don’t be afraid of change. You may loose something good, but gain something even better.”
Many chefs have been passionate about their profession since a very early age – well before they even knew what they were doing. Others discovered it in their teens or just fell somehow into it. However, there are many acclaimed and respected chefs that actually have been pursuing a very different career before turning to the culinary world. We asked several Singapore-based Clubvivre chefs about their careers and discovered a variety of jobs that were far removed from the kitchen.
It’s an Aesthetic Matter
Although Clubvivre chef Matteo Pertoldi has been cooking from a very early age onwards, he wasn’t always a chef – quite the opposite actually. Matteo was actually trained as a structural engineer and architect. Including his studies and his formal training, Matteo has spent around ten years working on architectural projects. He did, however, never stop experimenting in his own kitchen. “Cooking is closer to architecture than we may think, they are just different applications of artistic skills and scientific knowledge – starting from your experience of the world.” It always depends on your perspective.
Form the Court to the Kitchen
Chef Matteo isn’t the only one who went through a drastic change. Shalu Asnani is the founder and chef at Little Green Kitchen, but had initially set out to conquer a very different world. Chef Shalu was a qualified lawyer in Singapore with extensive corporate-commercial and litigation experience. She has worked has a legal manager for a big Singaporean company, advising on international projects and their legal matters. Exchanging her office for her kitchen and turning to her creative site, Shalu is nowadays specialising in vegetarian cuisine with a healthy twist.
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Industrial Design to Michelin Star
People are often afraid of a career change, but who says you can’t still reach the top. Clubvivre chef Silvio Morelli was born in the beautiful Tuscan city of Pisa in Italy. You might think that he has it in his blood, but not every Italian is a chef. Silvio didn’t think so either and went to pursue a career in the field of arts and industrial design. Upon realising his real passion, he left his academic undertaking and became a chef. Nowadays he is an executive chef with two Michelin Stars.
From Down Below all the Way Up
Some chefs were just born to be a chef – but didn’t start as one. Chef Benson Tong started his culinary career in a Hawker centre and rose very quickly to become an award-winning modernist chef. He even was nominated as head chef at Denmark’s Nam Nam, which runs under the Noma Group – the world’s previously best restaurant. It comes as a big surprise when learning that Benson is actually a submarine engineer.
These chefs demonstrate that one always has a choice. No matter whether retail assistant, lawyer or architect – one should never give up on one’s dream.