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After years of the grind in some of the world’s top restaurants chef Chris Kong decided to break out and set up on his own.
The chef didn’t set up his own restaurant though, he set up on his own. Completely on his own. The former NoMad chef left his native US and relocated to Singapore where he founded the Dearborn Supper Club a one-man private fine dining experience.
The chef is now living a completely different chef experience at the helm of the Dearborn Supper Club, catering for private parties. When Chris and his wife inherited a five-room public housing apartment the had the space to make their dream come alive and spent a year renovating it. They used that time to also refine Kong’s fast-casual concept before opening their doors in late 2018.
The Supper club has been a resounding hit and since opening, all twice weekly sittings, which include from six to eight people have been fully booked. In fact, the super club is fully booked until August 2019. Kong positions himself at the upper end of the city’s thriving pop-up scene and charges $100 (138 Singapore dollars) per head.
“After working for so many of these great chefs, and doing their kind of food and learning from them as well, you kind of want to find out ‘what’s your style?’, ‘what does Chris’ food look like?’” Kong told CNBC.
As chefs are increasingly turning their backs on the type of gruelling kitchen work that they’ve been toiling at for centuries, more and more are looking for ways to continue doing what they love, but on their own terms. The pop-up restaurant and individual chef-for-hire model seems to offer a future pathway to not only better work life balance, but also better financial reward for fewer hours.
Diners will always look for the exclusive experience and the chance to eat with meal prepared privately by a world-renowned chef will provide them with plenty to boast about when they meet their friends.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Singapore has a large community of well remunerated expat financial workers looking for new and luxurious ways to spend their earnings. Whether you’re focusing on providing the ultimate in private luxury dining, or hosting an intimate pop-up with more ethical, anti-waste, price conscious cuisine, the smaller, supper club model can give chefs the space to express themselves without the pressure of serious logistics or the overheads associated with the traditional restaurant model.