Plucked from London to helm Bayswater Kitchen in sunnyside Singapore, up-and-coming Chef Jack Allibone’s warm nature seems to fit right in. From his food to his hospitality, Chef Jack injects sincerity and honesty in everything he creates.
We sat down with the blue-eyed British lad for a quick chat to find out how he went from wanting to be a magician to ending up in the kitchen.
What’s your favourite kitchen tool and why?
It’s this Japanese knife given to me 8 years ago as a Christmas present – can’t live without it, really.
What’s an ingredient that you think is underrated?
Anchovies, the salted ones in brine. They’re love to use as a dressing or you can make mayonnaise with them, serve them with lamb, chicken, or even fish. Basically everything! It has a nice umami, salty, fishy flavour that’s a lovely addition to dishes.
What’s a dish that you think everyone should know how to make?
An English roast dinner. You’ve got to roast the whole joint of meat, you’ve got 5 to 6 different types of vegetables ready all at the same time. There’s a lot of time-planning involved and it’s just really homely.
What’s the one ingredient that you must have in your pantry?
Salt. It’s the heart of everything.
The best city or country for food is…
I’d say Italy, mainly because they have such great produce there. I’ve been there a few times – to Modena, Bologna, and Rome – and they generally have really good, really simple food that are all about the ingredients. Parma ham, bolognese… yeah. [laughs]
Your favourite thing to eat in your home country is…
Sunday Roast. You should try it, it’s great!
What’s the worst cooking crime you’ve committed?
Oh I do have a story but it’s not something else I’ve done, it’s something someone else did: in the first restaurant I worked in, a customer sent a steak back twice. The guy on the grill, he just took the steak and threw it onto the deep fryer, muttered something under his breath, put it back on the same plate, and sent it out.
Name a chef whom you look up to.
It’s with this last head chef that I worked for called Gary Foulkes. I worked with him twice at two different restaurants. He just runs the kitchen very well, great palate, great technical cook as well.
An interesting fact about yourself?
When I was a kid, I’d wanted to be a magician. [laughs] But I ended up being a chef.
David Blaine was around at the time and I thought, “Yeah, well, I could do that!” But maybe not. [laughs]
Your fondest food memory is…?
Cooking with my nan when I was a kid. She was a really good cook – taught me how to bone a chicken and how to make pastry and stuff. She’s the one who got me into cooking.
If you could have one last meal, what would it be?
Probably a lasagne.
Much like Chef Jack’s welcoming and laid-back nature, Bayswater Kitchen is where you can leave your worries at the door and unwind during your meal. The seafood here is as fresh as they come, so dive in with your hands if you really want to get up close and personal with your seafood – we promise, Chef Jack won’t hold it against you.