Joseph Sergentakis | Group Executive at CÉ LA VI SINGAPORE | modern Asian cuisine
Joseph Sergentakis – the start of his journey was not unexpected. His father was a chef, his grandfather a butcher, and his grandparents were running a restaurant. So it was obvious that he, too, would gain a foothold in gastronomy.
Today Chef Joseph Sergentakis work as Group Executive Chef at CÉ LA VI Singapore, where he and the full culinary team behind celebrate the modern Asian cuisine.
Joseph Sergentakis – Chef’s Portrait
Chef Joseph, today you work as Group Executive Chef at CÉ LA VI Singapore, which is located at the top of the famous Marina by Sand Hotels. Honestly, is there a better place in the world where you could work as a chef?
Yes, I am extremely lucky! I think it’s arguably one of the best locations in Asia.
How did your career as a chef start?
My entire family was pretty much in F&B. My father was a chef, my grandfather was a butcher, my mother worked front of house, my other grandparents owned a restaurant and the list goes on.
Obviously my first jobs were in restaurants and once I started to cook I fell in love at a young age!
Which cooking school did you visit it?
I went to Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
At the beginning of your career as a chef, you left the US to work as a chef in Hong Kong, where you worked for more than ten years in various locations. What fascinated you to work as a chef in Hong Kong?
I was asked by Chef Gray Kunz in 2009 to come with him to Hong Kong to open Cafe Gray Deluxe and The Upper House Hotel. At this time in my life I never imagined moving to Asia, I was 25 so I figured – why not!
There was no plan in how long I would stay there but after my tenure with Cafe Gray I was presented more opportunities by Swire, the company that runs The Upper House. I loved Hong Kong and learned a lot about Asian products and cuisine so I was happy to continue.
How did this long period influence your style of cooking?
Before moving to Hong Kong I was a French trained chef. Asia and most importantly Gray Kunz changed the way I cooked and looked at food. I was motivated to challenge myself with local products and ingredients. My cuisine now is heavy influenced by Western and Asian cuisine.
In 2011 you worked as chef in Lausanne, Swiss. What was your greatest learning during this time?
This was an incredible experience, I worked alongside Philippe Rochat, Benoit Violier and Franck Giovannini at l’hotel de Ville in Crissier. Everything about this restaurant was about perfection, the products, the techniques, the consistency! It was extremely hard work but extremely rewarding.
From Hong Kong to Singapore. How is Singapore’s food scene different from Hong Kong?
In many ways it is very different and I am lucky to have had the chance to experience both. From a cultural standpoint I feel Singapore is more diverse and you can see that in the local food. There is a strong influence here of Malaysian food, Indian, Nonya, Peranakan, Chinese and Indonesian. In Hong Kong and Singapore, the local cuisine is some of the best in the world. It is inspiring and I have learned so much!
As a chef, it is our responsibility to avoid endangered seafood and I hope that more chefs come on board to this. – Chef Joseph Sergentakis
As Group Executive Chef at CÉ LA VI Singapore – what is your culinary set up?
In each outlet I hire a head chef to run the outlet on a day to day basis. Since I am based in Singapore I am here most often but it is important I spend time in each out to assist as much as I can. Since all of my chefs are extremely talented my role it to inspire new ideas and help in any way I can.
Can you share some of your latest creations with us? (➔ recipes of top chefs)
We do a whole lobster that is coated with rice flakes and served on a bed of pomelo salad with a sour – spicy kaffir lime reduction. It is a winner!
What are some of the latest trends in Singapore’s food scene?
Sustainable seafood awareness has been tremendous in 2018. Trends seem to come and go though so hopefully this is not a trend here! As a chef, it is our responsibility to avoid endangered seafood and I hope that more chefs come on board to this.
What is your favourite street food in Singapore?
Some of my goto dishes would be the following: BBQ stingray, chicken rice, mee rebus and mee soto.
Thank you very much, Chef Joseph!
Chef Joseph’s cuisine is heavy influenced by Western and Asian cuisine.
How would you describe your cooking style?
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