Chef on Fire

Chef on Fire

Upclose-&-Personal2Chef Lee Boon Seng is quickly climbing Singapore’s culinary ladder. Earlier this year, the Sous Chef of Resort World Sentosa’s award-winning OSIA took home the title of Rising Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Series, the latest in a long list of accolades he has accumulated in his short career.

Chef Lee Boon Seng entered the culinary world as a raw rookie at the tender age of 17, when he joined the kitchen of Equinox, the restaurant in Singapore’s Swissotel The Stamford. As a trainee without any formal culinary education, his knowledge of of food, particularly Western food, was limited. He once got admonished for not knowing what a carrot was.

What a huge difference 11 years can make. The 28-year-old Sous Chef of Resort World Sentosa’s OSIA earned the owner of Rising Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Series this April, one of the highest honors a young Singaporean chef could hope for. He has also performed in numerous cooking competitions, representing his country and winning major awards for his sublime and creative dishes.

After an inauspicious start, Chef Lee quickly proved his mettle in the kitchen. During his 7 years at Equinox, learning the ropes of fine dining, Lee showed that he was a quick study, getting promoted to Commis Chef and then Chef de Partie.

He was picked to be part of Resort World Sentosa’s pre-opening team in 2010, taking on the Junior Sous chef’s role at OSIA, the restaurant helmed by Celebrity Chef Scott Webster. Chef Lee’s culinary prowess was further recognised when he was swiftly promoted to Sous Chef the next year.


Chef Lee is currently in charge of two Junior Sous chefs and seven other Chef de Partie and Commis Cooks. As the Sous chef, he is second in command in the kitchen. He also assists the Chef de Cuisine, Douglas Tay with quarterly menu planning.

Over the years, Chef Lee has participated in a number of prestigious international culinary competitions. He is a member of the Singapore National Culinary Team which helped to put Singapore on the world’s culinary map through their victories on the global stage. Perhaps the most impressive of these wins was when Chef Lee helped the Singapore Team take home the gold at the Expogast Culinary World Cup, considered one of the toughest and most prestigious cooking competitions in the world, in 2011.
Exquisite Taste: Congratulations on winning the title of Rising Chef of the Year at the World Gourmet Series Awards earlier this year. What did winning that award mean to you?

Chef Lee Boon Seng: Thank you very much. The award brought many honor and mixed emotions as well. The journey from a trainee cook to chef was not always a bed of roses. This award meant that my hard work was recognized by professionals in the culinary industry, which motivates me to work even harder moving forward.

Exquisite Taste: You never attended a formal culinary school and learned through working on the job. Who influenced you and taught you the most during your informal culinary education?

Chef Lee Boon Seng: My Head Chef, Chef Ivan Yeo, when I was working at Swissotel the Stamford’s Equinox as a Commis Cook. He not only taught me cooking skills but also emphasized the importance of differentiating between becoming a good cook and becoming a good chef. The latter requires a much greater skill set than just being able to cook well, thus the need to constantly be learning should never be neglected.

Exquisite Taste: What would you say is your proudest accomplishment as a chef?

Chef Lee Boon Seng: My proudest accomplishment is helping Singapore to regain the Expogast World Cup trophy in 2010. The last time the Singapore Culinary National Team had won the trophy was 12 years before. To prepare for the competition, I had to literally isolate myself from the city, practicing in the kitchen on my days off and pushing myself beyond my limits.

Exquisite Taste: What is your favorite dish on OSIA’s menu, both to cook and to eat?

Chef Lee Boon Seng: My favorite is the Milk Fed Lamb Short Loin and Neck, with orange tamarind confiture, parsnip mint puree and puffed grains with “bacon mustard.” It’s the signature dish of OSIA. In one dish, it presents two great cuts of lamb, prepared with different cooking techniques to provide two different textures. Yet the flavors do not emerge independently of one another, they complement each other very well.

Exquisite Taste: If you really wanted to impress your girlfriend what would you cook for her?

Chef Lee Boon Seng: I would love to prepare, for my girlfriend a selection of sashimi, including freshly caught fish and sea urchin. Sashimi, traditionally the finest of Japanese cuisine, is food in its purest and most delicate form. The purity of it really reminds me of her personality. She has a pure heart for life and those around her. She has spent a few years in Japan and hence has a strong appreciation for Japanese culture.


Mud Crab Remoulade with Yuzu Daikon on Rye Bread


Mud Crab Romulade:
• 360 gm of mud crab, cooked
• 150 gm of Crème fraîche
• 3 gm of yuzu zest
• 0.6 gm of salt, fine
• 0.3 gm of white peppercorn, milled
• 6 gm of chive, chopped
• 3 gm of chervil, chopped

Yuzu Daikon:
• 400 gm of daikon, peeled and sliced
• 30 ml of yuzu juice
• 14 ml of rice vinegar
• 10 ml of extra virgin olive oil
• 4 gm of sea salt
• 26 gm of white sugar
• 0.2 gm of white peppercorn, milled

Creamed Crab Roe:
• 100 gm of frozen crab roe paste
• 15 gm of egg yolk
• 50 gm of Crème fraîche
• 100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
• 2 gm of sea salt
• 0.3 gm of white peppercorn, milled
• 50 ml of cream
• 40 ml of Noilly prat
• 60 gm of onion, peeled and diced
• 1 pc of Bay leaf
• 0.7 gm of Xantana Texturas

• 30 pcs of crispy rye bread
• 10 gm of Pulverized Yoghurt
• 20 gm of wild wood sorrel


Mud Crab Romulade:
• In a mixing bowl, add in all the ingredients and mix well, leave aside.

Yuzu Daikon:
• In a mixing bowl, add in all the ingredients except for the Daikon and make a vinaigrette.
• Combine the Daikon and yuzu vinaigrette and marinate for one hour.
• Use the pickled Daikon and wrap it with the mud crab remoulade.

Creamed Crab Roe:
• In the sauce pot, sweat the onion until soft, add in the Noilly prat and reduce by 1/2.
• Pour in onion mixture into the thermo mix at 85°C.
• Add in the cream and cook until it reaches 85°C, add in the egg yolk.
• Continue to add in the rest of the ingredients.