Spotlight Series – Chef’s Table by Chef Stephan Zoisl
Quisine’s Spotlight Series takes an inside look at the food and beverage industry by speaking with the folks who know it best – restaurant owners, chefs and managers. This time around, we get the inside scoop on Chef’s Table by Chef Stephan Zoisl, talking to the man himself Stephan Zoisl.
We already featured Chef’s Table in ‘Simply The Best: Your Guide to Fine Dining in Singapore’ and ‘Quandoo Users Top 10 Restaurants in Singapore’, but both times we merely scratched the surface of this stunning Tanjong Pagar restaurant. So we decided to dive in a bit deeper and get to know the people behind the scenes, or more specifically the one person at the centre.
We’ve been lucky enough to chat with Chef Stephan Zoisl about himself and his inspiration behind this fantastic and award-winning restaurant. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed talking to him.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chef Stephan Zoisl:
What made you choose this line of work? What inspires you?
I grew up in a traditional Austrian restaurant. My father was the chef from the day they opened until they closed the business in 2018. My mother was taking care of service/front of house matters. I spent half of my childhood in the restaurant. When I was 9 years, I was the weekend dishwasher, kitchen helper, the guy that had to run into the cellar to get more supplies, helping to serve dishes or to prepare beverages.
My father has always been my hero – he juggled a 40-seater restaurant kitchen alone. The way he cooked was more like magic. Stacking pans and pots, and using the extra heat that was given away … very impressive.
My father was then the person that gave me the biggest opportunities, as he knew several business owners in the region, and helped me to get a job at the only five-star hotel in the region at that time…. and that’s when my career as a professional started, on the 8th September 1997, aged 15 years old.
What do you feel your restaurant adds to the Singapore dining scene?
We are a restaurant that is purely built on diners dietary restrictions. We customise the menu on the spot, and it’s always the best of a Chef’s Table experience. Dishes are only served by Chefs. “At eye level” – as all our tables are high tables. To make sure we can interact on eye level with the diners. No signature dishes, no repetition. No diner should ever eat the same dish when eating at Chef’s Table. Each dinner has to be a different culinary experience.
What has been the biggest business challenge for your restaurant?
The amount of restaurants in Singapore is extreme. And the growth won’t stop. To be successful takes far more nowadays than only cooking good food. It needs experience. I don’t think that there are many cities in the world where the location is such a key to success. And most businesses have a very short shelf-life in Singapore.
If you could sit down for a meal at your restaurant with any two people in the world, who would you choose and why?
Jean René being the most interesting photographer and artist of the last few years, especially as we are almost the same age, therefore it would be a very interesting talk during the meal, to pick a brain that is totally different.
Amon Tobin being the most interesting musician/artist that I have ever known. His process of music and video would be something else I would like to understand.
I think, as a Chef (being a craftsman) it’s always very interesting to look at other artist craftsmanship/artists in their case, to learn and understand more.
A pop-up dinner with the 2 of them would be the coolest thing ever.
You’re on death row and your time has nearly come. What’s your last meal going to be and why?
A nice slice of freshly-baked sourdough bread, with an artisan butter, very fine sliced chives, a bit of sea salt, black pepper & served with an ice cold beer.
Once again, we just want to say thank you to Stephan Zoisl for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with us.
If you’ve had the privilege of dining at this stunning restaurant, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.