With more than 30 years of culinary experience under his belt, Executive Chef Andy Oh continues to make a mark in the ever-vibrant culinary scene. Renowned in the international sphere as well, Oh has come a long way from his days of being a kitchen help at Bayview Hotel in Penang, when he was only 18 years old.
Oh fondly remembers how the delectable scents of his mother’s cooking wafted through the house and as a young boy then, he aspired to follow in her footsteps. “I wanted to be able to carry on the traditional recipes of my mother, my culture, and my heritage and pass them on to my children and if possible, the rest of the world,” he says.
Fast forward some decades of honing his craft, he sees himself as a highly revered culinary professional and has far surpassed his wildest dreams. No matter how recognised he becomes, however, Chef Andy remains humble and continues in his pursuit of nothing but the best for his customers. “One can cook and think globally, but going back to one’s root – going back to the basics is important. That’s the mantra I live by,” Oh mentions.
Helmed by the award-winning chef, Ginger is a newly opened restaurant located at PARKROYAL on Beach Road. It serves up scrumptious local fare, celebrating Singapore’s heritage and diversity by offering the best Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan dishes. The restaurant’s signature dishes include Singapore’s Chilli Stone Crab, Nonya Assam Fish from the Straits, and the rich Crustacean Hotpot with its abundance of oysters, crabs, lobsters, mussels, and clams. “In Asian cooking, ginger is very much a root; likewise here at Ginger, it is used in a number of our dishes,” Oh elaborates.
Chef Andy undoubtedly exudes an inexplicable devotion to his craft and it shows in his work ethic, especially when it comes to cooking. “I think for me, the key to success is having passion in the things that you do. In cooking, there must be love – because cooking comes from your heart and soul,” he says.
15 Questions WITH ANDY OH
1 THREE PEOPLE YOU’D LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH.
I would love to have a meal with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whom I’ve had the opportunity to serve; my great Chairman, Dr Wee Cho Yaw and his lovely wife.
2 MOST MEMORABLE MEAL YOU’VE EVER HAD?
My mother’s traditionally cooked pork trotters.
3 THREE ITEMS IN YOUR FRIDGE THAT RUNS OUT THE QUICKEST.
Mango, avocado, beef steak.
4 ONE INGREDIENT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT?
Garlic. With its pungent flavour, it’s a wonderful source of seasoning.
5 GO-TO DESSERT ORDER?
Good ol’ chendol – works for me every time.
6 WHICH COUNTRY HAS THE BEST FOOD?
Singapore and Malaysia. The multi-cultural nature of these countries provide die-hard foodies the best of almost everything.
7 HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR STEAK COOKED?
Steak isn’t a must-have for me. I’m more of a fish and vegetable kind of diner. However, meat is definitely one of my favourites to cook.
8 BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED?
Tan Sri Dato’ Loh Boon Siew said, “No matter how bad the economy is, anywhere in the world – everyone needs to eat – so when you choose your path, the best path is that of a chef.”
9 RULE #1 IN THE KITCHEN.
“If you have no passion for cooking – do not come into the kitchen.”
10 WHAT IS THE STRANGEST THING YOU’VE EVER EATEN?
Turtle. I had it in a Chinese restaurant which no longer exists.
11 PROUDEST MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER?
When I was named the Best Head Chef – Global, at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards in 2016, in Switzerland. It really was a humbling moment, especially for someone who started out as a kitchen help peeling dried chillies until his hands swelled for days!
12 WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE BEVERAGE?
13 WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY-PLEASURE MEAL?
A bowl of shark fin soup. But with ethical and environment concerns on the rise, I have since abstained from it.
14 WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO?
My customers, because they are unafraid to offer their opinions about the food I’ve cooked.
15 WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
Retired! I would think that by that time, the younger generation will be running the culinary scene. Having said that, a chef’s years are almost infinite. Food is life.