Marina Bay Sands created quite a buzz when they first announced six internationally acclaimed celebrity chefs setting up restaurants under its roof. They have now added a seventh, with the homecoming of Singapore's very own Justin Quek.
Five of those chefs came together yesterday to help celebrate the hotel's official opening. They held court before a massive audience of some 300 international media. From left to right - Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy, Santi Santamaria, Tetsuya Wakuda and Justin Quek. Unfortunately Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck were unable to make it but it was still surreal seeing these five accomplished chefs all in the same room.
"Individually these celebrity chefs are all culinary stars in their own right. But collectively, these chefs - with their talent, repertoire and dedication - make up a dream team that is nearly impossible to surpass," said Marina Bay Sands CEO and President Thomas Arasi, who officiated at the event.
The chefs intend to bring as authentic and close as possible the culinary experience one would get at their existing stellar restaurants. Of course, there will be variations as the team will be different and the produce will not be identical. Tetsuya however, noted that in Singapore, seasonal procurement will be interesting as he can source both winter and summer ingredients very quickly.
Guy Savoy and Santi Santamaria both own 3-star Michelin restaurants in France and Spain respectively. So the media were curious if this might lead to Singapore getting some Michelin stars eventually as well.
The chefs, of course, all echoed that customer satisfaction comes first, and they want to meet the needs of this market first. If they earn stars, well and fine, but that is not their main preoccupation.
At one point in time, Santi got up from his seat and yanked Tetsuya and Justin up as well, identifying his accomplices who helped lure him to Singapore.
The Sydney Morning Herald asked Tetsuya if the waitlist for Singapore's Waku Ghin will also mirror that of Tetsuya's in Sydney (reservations are famously needed 2-3 months in advance). Tetsuya's huge 8,000 square feet restaurant here will only take 28 diners at a time. But he says because diners will move from zone to zone, he may be able to accommodate more guests than a sit-down arrangement would.
And how did the culinary stars feel about the cult of celebrity chefs? Tetsuya humbly brushed aside the concept and said what matters is good food. Daniel piped up, saying everyone knows a celebrity chef when he's made it, but nobody knows the hours he's had to put in to get there. Touché!
And then the moment we were all waiting for - the actual food from the chefs (well, ok, cooked by their teams here). In a separate ballroom, we were treated to select menu highlights from all seven celebrity chef restaurants, and there were some real gems in there. I'll have to blog the food shots separately as I have 38 photos that I can't squeeze in here! Stay tuned, they're coming up soon.
Meanwhile, this is where the restaurants are located.
Restaurants at Level 2 Casino Building (accessible by public)
- Santi by Santi Santamaria (open)
- Guy Savoy by Guy Savoy (open)
- Waku Ghin by Tetsuya Wakua (opening soon)
Restaurants at Retail Mall near Theaters
- db Bistro Moderne by Daniel Boulud (opening Q4, 2010)
- Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza by Mario Batali (opening Q4, 2010)
- CUT by Wolfgang Puck (opening Q4, 2010)
Restaurant at Sands Skypark
- The Sky on 57 by Justin Quek
Marina Bay Sands will offer over 50 dining spots in all. They are planning a Restaurant Concierge service which will provide information on all their dining venues and take reservations from both guests and the public.
MARINA BAY SANDS
10 Bayfront Avenue