We chat with the three-Michelin-starred chef about Singapore, his top Singaporean dish, where he hangs out in the city and his latest stint as a MasterChef Asia's judge
Celebrated French chef Bruno Ménard, the first Michelin-starred chef to be based in Singapore, tells us where to go for a dose of nature, and how stoked he is on being a judge in Lifetime’s MasterChef Asia.
Hi Bruno! You’ve clearly accomplished so much, but one’s thing you’re absolutely proud of now?
I’m definitely proud to be part of the first ever MasterChef Asia. I’m looking forward to an exciting series with fantastic and delicious cooking by contestants from all across Asia, as well as the emotions that come with it.
Do you think anyone can become a MasterChef, Bruno? What do we need to succeed?
A MasterChef has to have a basic level of cooking skills and technique, determination, flair, and – most importantly – humility and passion. Food always tastes better when cooked with love.
We couldn’t agree more. So how has Singapore been treating you so far?
Singapore has been extremely welcoming to my family and I. The city is beautiful and green; I feel great everywhere I go; and the diversity of cultures brings through so many colours and flavours. Geographically, Singapore is also a perfect location for me to take up residence, especially since I travel across Asia frequently for work.
What do you like doing in Singapore?
I like heading to Orchard Road for the shopping – it is world class! I also enjoy going to Dempsey and Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Do you have any pastimes you like to do for leisure?
I take my bicycle out for a spin along the North Eastern Riverine Loop cycling trail, which links to four nearby parks including the Punggol Waterway Park from where I live – in Serangoon. It’s relaxing, quiet and beautiful, with lots of great food available along the way.
Cooking is a way of life to many. What does cooking mean to you personally?
To me, it’s is a form of communication – a universal language in the kitchen that binds people together no matter where they’re from and what language they speak.
Where do you see food culture going in the foreseeable future?
I can definitely see an evolution in gastronomy that has taken place here. Singapore is at a fantastic crossroad of cultures – from Chinese to Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian. The result is an explosion of flavours not just from heritage-rich street food, but also from innovative local talents, big-name brands, and celebrity chefs.
Let’s wrap up with a toughie: what’s your favourite Singaporean dish?
Laksa! The flavour, the spiciness and the otah (grilled fish cake) that goes along with it are the true tastes of Singapore to me.
Catch Bruno Ménard in MasterChef Asia from 3 September, Thursdays at 9pm, exclusively on Lifetime Asia (StarHub TV Ch 514).