Man at His Best

The Esquire Talks: Food And Drinks Edition

The inaugural Esquire Talks took place at Kilo Lounge as acclaimed restaurateurs weighed in on the art of creating an exceptional culinary experience.

BY EDITORS | May 26, 2016 | Food & Drink

It was like eavesdropping on three acclaimed restauranteurs, over at the bar, weighing in on the perils and the triumphs of working in the line. With copious amount of Auchentoshan whiskies and canapés, the crowd swelled to about a hundred as they checked out the Baume & Mercier watches on display and tuned in to these culinary thought-leaders at Kilo Lounge. Moderated by Esquire’s Editor-in-chief, Zul Andra, key insights were to be had in a discussion that had absolutely no rules.

Jonathan Yang founded Muchachos and grew his burrito joint into a million-dollar Mexican restaurant. All before he turned 30. “It was really hard at first,” he admitted and continued to share that it was the effort of time and patience that got the three-year-old Muchachos to where it is today. Considering that he raked in less than SGD150 on opening day, Yang, with his sharp blonde-dyed hair, laughs it off. “It was a humbling experience.” His initial SGD120,000 investment on Muchachos paid off, and with the confidence and the dough, he dropped more than double the capital to open The Daily Cut—a protein-packed salad bar at Raffles Place and One North.

Tan Huang Ming offered his astute observation of the industry. The co-founder and chef of sandwich bar, Park Bench Deli, and Esquire’s food columnist, isn’t one to shy away from the hard stuff. Confronting topics on food sourcing to the laws of the land and the conundrum of being a chef or a business owner, Ming rocked Javier Perez’s bar top whenever his microphone was raised.

Perez, the soft-spoken co-owner of Kilo and Grain Traders, was vocal when it came to the treatment and the passion of his staff. “As you expand your business, the people must always come first,” he mentioned. “It’s always a two-way street,” he added when questioned about the relationship between the service staff and the customers.

The success of inaugural Esquire Talks, sponsored by Baume & Mercier and Auchentoshan, continued with guests sharing their own experiences with the panellists long into the evening.