Open Kitchen

OPEN KITCHEN with… Executive Sous Chef Philippe Duc, Ash & Elm, Intercontinental Singapore

4 years ago by Anna Fernandez

Photography by Ahmad Iskandar

Executive Sous Chef Philippe Duc’s past is coloured with grand dining establishments and celebrity colleagues. He has worked the kitchens of Michelin star restaurants, SPOON by Alain Ducasse at InterContinental Hong Kong, and Restaurant Les Ambassadeurs, with Chef Jean-François Piège, before joining the Ash & Elm team about two years ago.

Ash & Elm boasts three culinary theatres including a charcuterie and cheese room, a wood-fired oven and an open charcoal-grill kitchen. When asked how his home kitchen compares to the one he works in on a daily basis, Chef Philippe replied, “In my own apartment, I requested induction cooking to be installed because it’s practical and easy to clean, and it’s quite reactive in terms temperature.”

After introducing us to the restaurant’s interiors, Chef Philippe got down to business and began preparing the Ibérico pork chop, which is one of Ash & Elm’s most popular a la carte options from the dinner menu. He worked quickly and efficiently and was visibly amused when he was forced to slow down because of our enthusiasm to photograph him in action.

Open Kitchen

Compared to the restaurant’s wood fired oven, which is used mainly for bread, the charcoal grill in the open kitchen is powered using charcoal, instead of gas. It takes about 45 minutes to get fired up and ready for use.

Chef Philippe’s versatility in the kitchen translates to the restaurant’s extensive range of offerings, which include house-cured and premium meats as well as sustainably-sourced seafood. He has certifications in confectionery, baking and pastry and believes that as a culinary professional, one has to be holistic. “As a chef, you should be able to do anything, from starter to dessert,” he mentioned.

Open Kitchen

Before Chef and his team had to get ready for dinner service, I asked him whether he has any bad habits when he’s cooking. He cheekily acted out sampling the many dishes in the kitchen. “I know it’s very important to taste but I need to control my diet,” he said with a laugh.

Open Kitchen

After brining the Ibérico pork chop, it is sous-vided for 10 hours at 60 degrees. Before placing it on the grill, a little bit of pepper and olive oil is added to it. Aluminum is also wrapped around its bone to protect it from the intense heat as it burns easily. It is then grilled on each side for about two minutes and left to rest for the same amount of time before being served to guests.

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