9 questions with CURATE’s new Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Halat

A new entrant to the Singapore culinary scene, Chef Halat helms CURATE’s kitchen with adventurous, cutting-edge menus that give contemporary classics unexpected interpretations.

Benjamin Halat CURATE Chef de Cuisine

Since the age of 17, this 31-year-old German native has trained under and collaborated with many celebrated chefs, including being personally mentored by two-star Michelin Chef Diethard Urbansky while working at Restaurant Dallmayr in Munich.

He went on to make his mark at distinguished fine-dining establishments, including Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel, Mandarin Oriental Munich, and most recently Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur. We posed nine questions to him to learn more about his inspirations and aspirations.

  1. During your time in Kuala Lumpur, you sampled street food along Jalan Alor and that inspired some of the flavours and ingredients in your dishes for the Mandarin Grill. Now that you’re in Singaporean, what are some of the local dishes you have tried so far?

I arrived in Singapore just recently so I’m not too familiar with the street food scene here. But the crab at Keng Eng Kee Seafood is pretty good.

  1. Of all the food you’ve had in Malaysia, what are your top picks?

Bak kut teh in Klang, banana leaf rice at Nirvana (Bangsar), and wantan mee near Jalan Alor. And also tempoyak at the Ramadan market.

  1. You have a pretty bold cuisine style, with dishes like Foie Gras Gateau with Szechuan Pepper Brioche on CURATE’s menu. Have you always been this experimental?

This foie gras dish is not bold at all. And yes I have always been experimental. You have to come try our new menu to find out.

Benjamin Halat CURATE Chef de Cuisine
Brin d’Amour Cheese with tomato jam, pickled vegetable and morel soil. The creamy tomato jam at the bottom is handmade from fresh tomatoes. 5kg of tomatoes yields only 100g of tomato jam.
  1. Will you be creating something at CURATE that you have never experimented with previously?

That’s the plan. At the moment, we are working on our bread and we have started on our first fermentations. I would also love to brew my own beer here.

  1. What is the best way for guests to experience your cuisine at CURATE?

Come with friends to enjoy a nice evening. We also have four seats at the kitchen bar where you can see all that’s happening in the kitchen.

Benjamin Halat CURATE Chef de Cuisine
Beef Tartare with foie gras and pear
  1. Organic foods and clean eating were some of the growing food trends in the past year. What new trends do you see happening this year?

I’m not a fan of fads. The most important thing is to understand what goes into making the dish, such as the ingredients, the techniques and the process. We need to respect everything we do because a lot of work goes into every dish we create. Knowledge will always be “in” and we create our trends.

  1. As a chef, you use the finest ingredients to create lavish dishes for guests. When it comes to yourself, what is that one comfort food you reach for?

Depends on my mood. It can be anything from congee to pizza. But it should be quality food and definitely no fast food. If I’m in my hometown, my must-haves are leberkaese semmel (meatloaf sandwich) and weisswurst fruehstueck (traditional Bavarian breakfast of white sausages with pretzel)… hahahahah…

  1. Is there any food you will never eat?

Apart from mass produced fast food, there is nothing I won’t eat.

  1. What else do you look forward to during your time here in Singapore?

To better define my cooking style and pick up more knowledge on products and techniques. And to get one Michelin star for CURATE.

Benjamin Halat CURATE Chef de Cuisine

Learn more about CURATE here

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