Morsels in Mayo Street of Little India serves morsels of food (really small plates) that are largely influenced by Japanese ingredients. One of its chef owners, Bryan Chia, was named the Meat & Livestock Australia Rising Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Summit Series Awards of Excellence 2015.
The World Gourmet Summit Series Awards of Excellence is held as part of the World Gourmet Summit, that is first launched during 1997.
Following the results of AOE 2015, Bryan Chia was one of the eight winners selected for the Overseas Development Programme, an immersive programme created by the Singapore Tourism Board and A La Carte Productions, a division of Peter Knipp Holdings.
We are proud to have scored an interview with Chef Bryan out of his busy schedule, as he shares his thoughts and inspiration of his culinary journey.
1. Morsels was launched from the streets of Little India. Was there a deeper reason in selecting that location as a launchpad for your culinary journey?
When we first got here, this street started out as just a lonely bike shop. Now this street is filled with people who passionate about their skill set and striving for detail.
There’s Ah Seng from the bike shop, KC from Grease Monkey, next two streets over on Dickson there’s Cocotte in Wanderlust, at Dunlop there’s a new cafe Roots, and The Malayan Council are just a couple to mention.
We hope to see the street gentrify with more people with the same humble, idealistic, artisanal, creative mindset.
2. What was the inspiration behind Morsels? Coming from a diverse culinary background, what was it about sharing/small plates that sparked off the menu?
The inspiration behind Morsels is really a reflection of how we as chefs love to eat and drink. The menu is carefully purveyed from the creation of the food menu to the purveying of wine. Personally, we love variety when we eat, growing up in Chinese families whereby variety seem to the heart of every meal. Hence, we are inspired to feed our guests in a similar fashion. As for the type of cuisine, we chose to be progressive and experimental, not following any particular cuisine type it gives us the freedom to create. Often, our menu is a reflection of seasons, or our travels. But our food ethos remains that we cook and balance each dish with sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. And recently more inclusion of the 6th which is smoke. Both Petrina and I create based on this philosophy bringing each dish together.
3. Winning the award for Meat & Livestock Australia Rising Chef of the Year, what is it about the culinary world that keeps you going?
Creativity is endless. The very fact that we can create anything we desire makes work so interesting. We are chefs that like old cooking techniques. So curing, pickling, smoking, drying lets us take a step back into time to see how people use to cook. Also, being rather focused on progressive cooking, we think of the box creating dishes that are new to our guests and continuously excite their palette.
4. Could you share some of your most memorable experiences from the Overseas Development Programme?
Stepping into another chefs kitchen and seeing through their eyes. From creativity to operation to logistics. Truly inspiring to know that we are heading in the right direction. Also, seeing how smoking is done right from where it gained popularity was very interesting. We got to expose ourselves to the farms, hammery and just being immersed in a busy popular restaurant with a progressive take on Southern cuisine was an experience in itself.
5. We have heard of the constant battles of being a chef in the kitchen, and separately, as a business owner in the competitive F&B landscape. How do you cope with being both?
Learning when to be an employer and when to be an employee. As managing staff motivation is the key to a successful business. When you have operations headed with people with the same mindset, it helps you work closer as team. Business will come in when everyone does their part for the restaurant. What’s good about our setup is we have two chef’s both owners and this partnership is special as it brings a lot of good synergies and support for our restaurant.
2016 will mark the 20th year of the World Gourmet Summit and 16th year of the Awards of Excellence. The first phase kicked off in November 2016 to an overwhelming response of voting. Evaluation process is going through its second phase come January and voting can still be placed at here
For more information on WGS, you can visit www.worldgourmetsummit.com