Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Botak Chef

I've always viewed social entrepreneurship with keen interest. Nothing beats having a business with a social cause. Charities are different. While they serve society, charities are largely dependent on public, corporate and government donations/fundraising to finance their operations. A social enterprise is more sustainable, applying business elements to an idea to bring about a social change or push through a social cause.

Eighteen Chefs at Eastpoint, like Food For Thought, does just that. The head chef-owner, Benny Se Teo, was formerly a druggie (not the Panadol kind) who now strives to provide youth-at-risks and ex-delinquents with an environment that is non-bias against their past backgrounds, equipping them with a new set of skills to better support themselves and stay away from crime.

Kudos to the man and his vision! It was this vision that took Benny to Jamie Oliver's (aka The Naked Chef) restaurant, Fifteen, for a two month stint. It was the non-profit Fifteen that inspired Benny to set-up Eighteen Chefs, with a similar social cause. Till now, Benny remains the only Singaporean to have trained at Fifteen. C-O-O-L

Once at Eighteen Chefs, choose a table and do seat yourself. There is no service charge anyway. Browse through the menu and order by way of an order chit, which you should bring to the cashier for payment. The food will be served to you shortly.

The Eighteen Funky Salad ($6.90)was not bad but certainly not what I could term funky. The salad comprised fresh crunchy strips of iceberg lettuce, a few strips of capsicum, rings of onion, a tomato slice and about four shrimps all dressed in fragrant olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Simple and no-frills. What I would have preferred is for the lettuce to be sliced into bite-sized pieces instead of strips for easier eating. The shrimps would have also benefited from a longer time on the griddle.

Famed for their cheese baked rice, I opted for Beef Slices and a Tangy Tomato Sauce version ($8.90). The rice was nicely firm and the sufficient cheese made for good eating without the cloying feel. The thin beef slices were generous but lacked oomph. The tomato sauce was a tad insipid for my taste although there was a strong Italian mixed herb backbone.

By the way, there are many offerings of sauces (Creamy Mango, Spicy Garlic, Curry etc) and main ingredients (Seafood, Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms etc) from which to choose from for your cheese baked rice. Have fun exploring!

For those who like their breakfast anytime of the day, the all-day-breakfast at Eighteen Chefs would make them smile. The EggsChipsBeansDogs ($5.50) was a happy brekkie sight of scrambled eggs, chicken hot dogs, baked beans and crinkle-cut fries. Now to just get some toast...

Wash everything down with a cup of Cappuccino ($2.50). Perk-me-up anybody?

Eighteen Chefs offers breezy alfresco seating and also an air-conditioned interior seating area which exudes youthful energy. With decently-priced food and a good feeling from knowing that your patronage has helped to train and keep youth-at-risks and ex-delinquents off the troubled path, Eighteen Chefs certainly is a place to support. My cheese baked rice with beef slices and tangy tomato sauce may not have been the best combination but I'm game to return to try another.

Eighteen Chefs
Eastpoint Mall
(Beside POSB)
Tel: 6782 1298
Opens: 12noon-9.30pm on Sundays to Thursdays (last order at 9pm)
: 12noon-10.30pm on Fridays & Saturdays (last order at 10pm)

Chew On This: Student meals are available at $5.90 and that gets you a Chicken Sausage Pasta/Rice, iced lemon tea and a scoop of ice cream! I think nurses also qualify for this promotion. That explains the flock of students and nurses here during lunch time. =)


Anonymous said...

Woah... Thanks for introducing this restaurant helm by the "disciple" of the original celebrity chef. Tho the food don't look that great but he definitely has a great vision. Shall give the restaurant my support when I go to Simei...

Anonymous said...

yeah we shld support such causes! but the place is a bit far from my place eh. lol

The Hungry Cow said...

flyboy: I support his vision too! Not bad considering that u can do that by eating. :p

ladyironchef: I've seen u post up on Bark Cafe. Eighteen Chefs is not even that ulu!! Hehe.