Find out what the multi-faceted chef and owner gets up to as he ensures Candlenut settles into its brand new home.
The stoic 32-year-old has quickly become one of the nation’s culinary stars after being awarded a Michelin star in the Singapore Michelin Guide, published in July this year. An advocate for Peranakan food since opening Candlenut with his mother, Malcolm Lee is credited with elevating a niche cuisine both within the country and internationally.
Things have progressed almost instantaneously since then. After being located at Dorsett Residences for three years, the restaurant moved to its new space at COMO Dempsey, a three-in-one lifestyle destination housed in a former British barrack. Here, the improved Candlenut is sleeker with a luxe modern interior designed by architect Paola Navone and a larger kitchen fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. A month in, Lee is still getting the hang of running a bigger team. “I’ve to let my kitchen staff handle the day-to-day operations and learn how to manage people instead,” he shares.
Dempsey, being a fairly inaccessible enclave at the end of the Orchard Road strip, also requires a different business strategy. He’s tweaked his dishes, which are offered in an a la carte menu to create a dining experience meant to be savoured slowly. Not to say that he doesn’t love Candlenut’s current location: “It’s so relaxing here, I feel like I’m in a resort. Who would want to leave?”