Imagine inviting yourself over to someone’s house for dinner. Well, this is now a business known as Private Dining. The brainchild of Chef Shen Tan, Ownself Make Chef, is one of them. In the cosy dining room fitted exactly for twelve, she tells her thoughts of her food creation; the warmth of human connection; and the ultimate satisfaction, of cooking for people who truly enjoy the food.
As the name goes, at Ownself Make Chef, “everything is ownself make”. Which means, that lots of work in culinary exploration goes behind the scenes. Yet for Chef Tan, it is neither a chore or bore. To her, it is nothing but a fun process which allows her to explore natural flavours in food.
EGGScellent, EGGSciting, EGGStravangaza. APORKcalypse. Fry Me To The Moon. The dishes in the menus certainly lives up to the hype of these names. She thinks of a central theme for each dinner menu, and then extrapolates it into the dishes. The focus on the food is always, the natural flavours of each ingredient. When EGGS are screamed into dishes, most of us think scrambled, sunny side-ups, poached. Chef herself thinks the type of eggs, the way they are cooked, the food made from eggs. Hence mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce, these heavenly complements to her food, are present.
The unique and delicious food she creates tells you the heart she puts in, and there is also another main factor that keeps her going.
Human connections are constantly formed and enriched around the dining table, between patrons and between them and Chef Tan. She recalls fondly, that some patrons come alone, and end up make friends – sharing their wines over conversations. She loves chatting with patrons about the dishes, answering questions about her work and thought behind the dishes. This personal connection drives and inspires her. It makes her more determined, to learn more and educate people on food, and of course, create more stunning dishes.
To people out there who are considering stepping foot into this culinary industry, she recommends private dining. Private dining can be a good avenue for people who want to have a taste of the industry before going into the real world – “you are testing out your chops to see if you have what it takes in a larger scale business.”. Feedback is immediate and there is time and less restrictions to try things out to improve, compared to stepping foot straightaway, into a commercial kitchen.
At Ownself Make Chef – you get nothing short of amazing food with a homely touch, and behind all of this, is Chef Shen Tan’s magic.