Helming BAM!’s kitchen is Executive Chef Pepe Moncayo, a Spanish chef through and through. Pepe is no stranger to Singapore having spent a few years at the now-defunct Michelin-starred Santi as Chef de Cuisine and now his gastronomic creativity continues to enthral us at the BAM! restaurant.
“What makes BAM!’s cuisine really stand out is the surprising culinary mar- riage of Catalonian and food culture of another while using only the freshest ingredients locally and overseas.” explained Chef Pepe. To many, how- ever, we know the difference does not only stop here.
Having worked in several Michelin- starred establishments, Chef Pepe holds high regard to colours, flavours and tex- tures when it comes to bringing about
the ooh-so-irresistible heavenlyindul- gences. Paying close attention to his every creation, each dish is exquisitely plated to give you a visual appetizer; and each bite is carefully planned and paired to excite, surprise, warm and pleasure.
In 2015, Chef Pepe was invited to showcase his culinary skills in the world’s most celebrated gastronomy affair, the 17th edition of San Sebastian Gastronomika. There, he represented BAM! with three Singapore-inspired dishes which gained international attention.
1. What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
Sourcing.That’s what I do, constantly sourcing for ingredients.The way I approach dishes creation is : find beautiful ingredients and then put them together with some personal culinary sense that I might have developed in my career.Never will work the other way around,there is never a before hand thought dish and then find the ingredients to make it happen….I find it very hard.
With the best ingredients is very easy to cook.
2. Name your most Favourite dish on the menu? And why?
No such a thing….they are all my children and I love them equally.I put my heart to produce them….another thing is what’s Bam! patrons favourites,then I can give an answer.Even though the favourites choice is quite wide there is one that is almost in all the comments:
Cold Capellini, Uni, Sakura Ebi,Citron confit
3. Main considerations when it comes to choosing your ingredients?
Quality,quality,quality.From onions to beef,from garlic to fish.
4. How do you see the growing demands for sustainable produce affecting the food world?
To create awareness of the need of sustainability is fantastic,I wish to leave my children in a better and more sustainable world,we must be conscious of our effects to the earth,and not only culinary speaking.There is a demand for sustainable food and the offer is growing exponentially.
Unfortunately SUSTAINABILITY is mostly used as a marketing point rather than a inner believe…..
5. If you weren’t a chef, or in the food business, what would you be?
Most likely I will be manufacturing cars same as my father did all his life and my elder brother is doing for 20 plus years….
6. Do you have a memorable food experience that impacted you as a child or young chef?
I used to work for two years at a restaurant called Can Fabes, the best restaurant I have ever worked at….after finishing my time there I got invited a full dinner and realised that a restaurant is much more of what happens in a kitchen,than in 2 years there I have only seen a small part of the whole thing,the kitchen.
7. What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The thing I enjoy the most is mice en place ( preparation ), cleaning fish, butchering, whipping mushrooms…..give me 10 kg of artichokes and one knife and I’ll be happy for 2 hours shaping them patiently one after the other….
8. Other than creating good food, what are the most important qualities that make a successful chef?
Success can be achieved in many different ways and the meaning of it varies depending on the individuals. I feel achieved when I make patrons happy and they come back and fill up my dining room.
9. If you had a choice of anything for your last meal, what would you choose to have?
anything cooked at home by my wife,I’ll ask her for ayam chilli padi before I part.
10. Do you have any tips for budding chefs or restauranteurs?
I won’t narrow it down to chefs, F&B is a way of life and a vocational career rather than a profession an it is easy to get along among us and hard to get along with the rest as our “free time” is just the opposite.