In February 2014, he opened his own fine dining restaurant specialising in neo-Singaporean cuisine, serving signature dishes such as the chilli crab ice cream; ice kacang or a shaved ice dessert featuring native local herbs such as oyster plant, wandering Jew and roselle; Bak Chor Mee No Bak Chor No Mee, a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of a local noodle favourite; and his grandma’s Ang Moh Chicken Rice, which is a twist on the traditional Hainanese Chicken Rice.
Labyrinth received its first Michelin star in 2017. Then early this year, he was recognised for his noble efforts to hold sustainable operations in his restaurant—from its waste reduction practices and use of locally sourced ingredients to supporting different communities.
Even if they have turned their backs on banking, they still manage to practise what they learnt from their previous careers to the current one. “Especially on the business front,” says Han. “From the ability to read the market and understand the economy and studying the company’s financial statements to doing forecasts and managing my day-to-day cash flow, knowing what and how much budget is available to spend at any given time.”
Ching adds, “The skill in dealing with people. The customer is always the priority and I usually go the extra mile to serve the client. For me, excuses don’t serve any purpose, so I plan ahead and always have a strategy.”
From crunching numbers to managing the kitchen, both chefs have traded office attire for aprons, and they couldn’t be any more fulfilled and fuelled in what they’re doing. Han says, “I spend six days, up to 14 hours per day working and never once have I felt that I wanted to be anywhere else but in my restaurant.”