Interview with Executive Chef Sandro Falbo, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I was still a student when I chose to pursue my passion in culinary at the age of 14. It was a very young age to work in this industry, however, this job has given me the opportunity to travel around the world, learn new things and be exposed to different cultures.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
This incident happened when I started my career in one of the hotels in Rome/ I was in charge of the culinary arrangement for a big group of employees. As dinner had to be served by 5.30 pm, I had to prepare a big frittata (omelette) with minimum time and little ingredients. Hence, with sixty eggs and some vegetables, I had to prepare the frittata without realizing the amount of time left. To make it more stressful, I had all the employees standing in the kitchen looking really upset with me because the food was not ready. Fortunately, everyone had a good laugh instead of being upset with me because they could see the effort I put in. One of the staff told me how priceless my expression was and it would have been a funny video if they managed to film it. At the end, I treated everyone to pizzas.
What's the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is the satisfaction I get when guests enjoy my food. I am very fortunate to have the understanding and support from my loved ones in my journey of pursuing my passion in culinary arts.
What's your personal favourite meal/ drink?
I enjoy having a nice Arancini, a classic Italian riceball (available at The Lighthouse at $18++ each) coupled with a refreshing Campari cocktail at The Lighthouse’s rooftop bar on top of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. It has one of the most beautiful views of the Marina Bay and is the best place to catch the sunset.
Tell us a story about one of the dishes you prepare.
That would be the ‘Black Squid Ink Seafood Arancini with Saffron Aioli’. It’s a unique dish, inspired by Venetian and Roman cuisine. You can try this dish at The Lighthouse Restaurant & Rooftop Bar.
What's one of the most memorable things you've seen behind the scenes?
That would be cooking on the Great Wall of China for the Chaine de Rotisserie event when I was working in China. The service staffs were dressed like the ancient Chinese warriors and one of the major challenges for the 80 lucky diners was the steepness of the stairs. The set-up had to be completed within two days and we deployed more than 100 staff to carry all the equipment and decorations. The event turned out beautifully and it was certainly memorable making every effort put in worthwhile.
The perfect day off would be... spending time with my family.
A life in the day of a chef is...
A typical day for a chef can be up to 14-hours long. I will begin the day by checking the quality of the ingredients that are required for the day’s activities. If there is a special event for the day, I will review the presentations of the various dishes with my team of chefs. As guests begin to arrive for lunch, I will remain in the kitchen to ensure that each dish is well-executed before it is served. At times, I am in the restaurants to meet and listen to the feedback from our guests. After lunch, I will head to back to the office to work on the administration duties such as menu creation and planning. After which, I will return to the kitchen to prepare for the evening’s operations.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy outdoor sports such as cycling, hiking, swimming or fishing.
What's something you'd like guests to know about the cuisine at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore?
I am always delighted to share with my guests that my cuisines are prepared with seasonal ingredients. My philosophy is to prepare dishes simply, beautifully and focusing on the fresh flavours of natural ingredients.
How do you select your ingredients and why?
Definitely looking at the season. Different seasons produce unique ingredients which are available for only a short period and it is wonderful to enjoy the special flavours nature has to offer across the year. In Singapore, we do not have four seasons, however, in Europe, we enjoy richer and high protein food in winter, spring vegetables and herbs in spring. As summer approaches, we consume a lot of fruits and salads.
What's your view on the Singapore restaurant/ bar scene?
The food and beverage scene in Singapore is extremely vibrant with so many different cuisines and dining concepts. Restaurants with vantage views around Marina Bay are amongst the favourite spots as they provide an enhanced atmosphere and dining experience. If you are celebrating a special occasion and enjoy authentic Italian dishes and wines, I would recommend that you visit The Lighthouse. We are perched on the top floor of The Fullerton Hotel, at the crossroads of Singapore River and Marina Bay with simply spectacular 360 degrees views of the city skyline.
What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?
In the months of October and November, we will be importing and presenting the heavenly ingredient – White Truffles at The Lighthouse Restaurant as well as Clifford at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore which offers brasserie fare in a chic waterfront setting.