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Chef Jen

As an advocate of female empowerment, it is heart-warming to meet a female Head Chef in CAVEMEN – Chef Jen, a petite, fair-skinned, witty lady thriving in a male dominated kitchen. Previously a Junior Sous Chef in Conrad Centennial Singapore, Chef Jen’s passion for food mainly came from influences of her family – growing up with her mum who loves baking, and her grandmother who loves food. Being an IT graduate, Chef Jen kicked start her career in a network support team and front desk member at a gym. Due to the lack of career progression, she then made a grand decision to study culinary arts in KDU college Penang after her mother suggested that she should consider pursuing culinary. She shared about her experience working in different sectors of F&B before joining CAVEMEN.

I was lucky to be offered an internship with Amador in Langen, Frankfurt, Germany, where I was exposed to molecular cuisine, which is the manipulation of the textures and flavours of food through the science and mechanisms of cooking.

Later on, I was given the opportunity to work under Joel Robuchon Singapore as a Demi chef de partie, which I managed to build and sharpen my foundation and skills in French cuisine.

Being an adventurous and ambitious person, Chef Jen then joins SATS Inflight catering as a Sous Chef to diversify and expose herself to the mass production side of F&B. The versatile Chef then rose through the ranks, and joined CAVEMEN as the Head Chef in 2018.

When asked about the challenges she faced working in a male-centric industry, Chef Jen shared that it hasn’t been easy, after all the kitchen is a fast-paced environment with a lot of heat which brings out the aggression of people, it is challenging for females to deal with such aggression and stress.

It is inevitable for females to still face stereotypes as the stigma of women working in the culinary industry still exists. Initially when I first started working in the kitchen, such problems weren’t significant as I was blessed enough to be surrounded with colleagues who are really nice, and seniors who dote on me. Biasness and oppression started to surface when I was moving up the ranks as some of my male counterparts would question my leadership and capability.

When asked about a dish which best represents her, Chef Jen laughs!

Hmmm… If i were to really choose a dish, I would say it’s the Paella. The Paella from CAVEMEN has an asian touch to it as we use Korean rice instead of Paella rice. Rice is also a staple and representative of asian cuisine. Thus, Paella would best represent me – being asian and developed my love for food through asian cuisine but also trained in French cuisine. She continues, CAVEMEN’s Paella is inspired by Joel Robuchon’s, also an asian fusion Paella. My aim is to recreate, and offer a more affordable version of it.

What advices would Chef Jen give to women who are interested to pursue a career in the culinary industry?

Bite the bullet and don’t give up. It is really important to have passion and patience to work in the culinary industry.

Available at CAVEMEN Restaurant & Bar.
Paella in Staub Pot: $58 (Before GST)

– Chef Jen

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