Director of F&B, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
E: What are your responsibilities?
J: I oversee all aspects of our food and beverage operations, including our signature Italian restaurant Grissini, our all-day dining outlet Food Capital, Tempo, our lobby bar, and our conference facilities with 33 meeting/function rooms.
E: What makes a typical day?
J: Long hours aren’t uncommon in this industry but I enjoy every part of it. I am almost always in for the breakfast service, as it’s often the best time to interact with our residential guests and gives me the most direct contact with them. The rest of the day is typically in-house event and meeting driven.
E: Your best attribute?
J: The ability to work with and understand different teams. I try to get to know the teams personally, to understand each individual and their lives both at and outside work. Even though we spend so much time together, we often only see a small section of each other’s lives and it is fascinating to get to know each team member personally. This is, after all, a people business.
E: Team player or team leader?
J: Both! It really depends on the nature of what we are currently working on. I depend on the team a lot for their creativity, feedback and execution. This is a multi-faceted business and no man is an island.
E: Who has been the most influential figure in your career to date?
J: I’d say more than one – and it would definitely have to be my family and the Food and Beverage Management Association Singapore. Looking back, my family was very blessed to be able to travel with friends, and our yearly holidays and travel were always a highlight, no doubt adding to my fascination with the business. FBMA has also played a large role in my professional life; I’ve been a member for the past decade and the contacts and the various mentors over the years have been both an avenue for advice and a source of friendship and camaraderie.
E: Name one really special thing about your hotel or restaurant?
J: Can I name two? The team and our location! I’ve gotten to know the team on an individual level and their stories are amazing and sometimes hilarious. I really like our riverside location as well; we’re near enough to the city to still feel a part of it, but also away from the main crowds. I also like how the river always remains calm, even though we may be running a little crazy inside. Every now and then we need that reminder.
E: How do you unwind?
J: Meals with friends and family always play a part of time away from work, but Netflix has also been a recent introduction. I like how everything is on demand and suits my erratic schedule.
E: Dead or alive, who would you like to take out to dinner?
J: That will remain my best kept secret!
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
392 Havelock Road