If the concept of social media and celebrity chefs existed before the millennium, chef Otto Weibel would have been a firm fixture.
In Singapore since 1973, the 70-year-old Weibel has continually made his mark on Singapore and Asia’s culinary scene. From his work with 5-star hotel groups like Shangri-La (Singapore and HOng Kong) and Westin Singapore (now Fairmont Hotel), where he was Director of Kitchens for 26 year till he left in 2011; his F&B consultancy OttScott with Australian celebrity chef Scott Webster and their one Michelin-starred restaurant OSIA, to helming the Singapore Chef Association as its President from 1990 to 2015 (he’s currently their President Mentor); his work as Honorary President of Bocuse d’Or Asia-Pacific, and President of Bocuse d’Or Singapore and Asia-Pacific from 2008 to 2015–the list is long and full of accolades.
Not that you would know this if you met Weibel. Humble and unassuming with a hardworking ethos that sees him rising every day at 7am, the Swiss-born chef is a constant go go go, juggling a full day’s schedule involving numerous meetings, multi-tasking the ins and outs of orchestrating global food competitions, and when time allows, playing a round of golf with his buddies at Sentosa Golf Club.
Weibel’s first eponymous restaurant is far from a built-for-Michelin eatery. The simple 46-seat deli and all-day restaurant located in buzzy Holland Village is a clean, free-flowing, light-filled space with bistro-style offerings such as pastas, grilled meats, waffles, burgers, and indulgent Valrhona hot chocolate.
Starting Otto’s Deli Fresh from ground up at Weibel’s age isn’t exactly the most conventional move. While it is Weibel’s name on the door, his duties are clear. “I am involved in the kitchen for training etc… but after that it’s down to the chef (Rick Chow). I am at an age that I don’t want to be 12 hours in the kitchen.”