MasterChef Ian Curley was recently in Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit 2014, being hosted at The Prime Society and showcasing his culinary expertise. I had the opportunity to send him an email interview, and this was his response.
1. How did you first start out as a chef?
I was looking for a job that i could travel the world and move away from home town , and meet people .
2. Under what circumstance did you open your first restaurant?
I was looking for a restaurant where i could cook the food i wanted to cook without having to serve what other people wanted .
3. Favourite Singapore food?
I am really impressed that like Australia there’s such a melting pot of cuisines, and i like them all.
4. What’s the main difference between cooking for Singaporean customers and cooking for Australians?
All I know about is that we grow a lot of our own herbs and vegetables for the restaurant, and all of our food is very much produce driven .
5. What misconceptions do people have about Australian cooking and how would you like to change that?
A lot of international chefs come to Australia and are amazed that we have such great produce , and its all so readily accessible , we grow everything we need in Melbourne victoria .
6. Many restaurants open up and close equally fast in Singapore, why do you think that happens?
A lot of people think that opening restaurants is a good way to make money, it’s far from the truth, there’s an old saying that says you make a small fortune in restaurants by starting with a large one, very true.
7. Who’s one inspirational restaurateur you deeply respect?
Fergus Henderson from St John , and his business partner Trevor Gulliver.
8. What do you think is the ‘secret’ to having a successful restaurant?
Like I said, location, great staff, great ideas , an unlimited bank account , patience , resilience , sense of humour , and an awful lot of humility.
9. If you could cook one meal for someone in Singapore, who would it be?
I think if I could cook for anyone it would be the poor who can’t afford to eat out as much as do, and I find it a great leveler and a good way for me to keep my feet on the ground .
10. What’s your advice to aspiring starting chefs and restaurateurs?
My advice to aspiring chefs and restaurateurs would be it’s a very long road to the top , and it’s not always full of glamour , be prepared for hard work , long hours , and disappointments in your life , but it’s all worth it end . and you should always try and give something back .
Born in Coventry, England, Chef Ian Curley moved to Australia in 1988 after honing his skills in classical cuisine working in London restaurants.
After gaining renown whilst working at the Point restaurant, Albert Park, Ian became executive chef of The European Group of restaurants. The latter encompasses a classical bistro, wine bar, fabulous Supper Club, and rooftop bar overlooking Parliament House in Melbourne, amongst others. He is Executive Chef for 7 diverse venues and 5 kitchens, managing a kitchen brigade of over 30 staff. Highly sought after by other industry professionals, Ian has prepared meals for many a visiting celebrities.
Chef Ian Curley is well-known in the industry for his approach to preparing creative meals utilizing the whole beast, long before it became a culinary trend. Firmly on top of his game, Ian sources the best produce available, focusing on seasonality and simple, elegant presentation.
Considered to be one of Australia’s foremost Chef,s Ian is regularly featured in the media for his wealth of knowledge, expertise and wicked sense of humor. He is often quoted in the newspapers and food publications including The Age, The Australian, The Herald Sun and Gourmet Traveller. Ian Curley is really one of a kind.