Epicure Magazine
Persistent Passion Image Credit: Epicure Magazine
Persistent Passion Image Credit: Epicure Magazine

Persistent Passion

From burning his fried rice during home economic class to rising up the ranks to become executive chef of award-winning Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Max Ng shares his journey to success with Victoria Lim.

Every hipster foodie worth his pink Himalayan salt has probably heard of New York’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar, the crown jewel of the Momofuku empire by straight-talking founder-chef and restaurant mogul David Chang. Much less is known of his executive chef Max Ng. Ng has become a serious player in the Big Apple’s competitive restaurant scene. And he is Singaporean.

This is not a position Ng would even have dreamt of as a schoolboy baking apple pies who once burnt his fried rice during home economics class at Temasek Secondary School. Now 33, Ng is grateful for the opportunities he has been given over the years – as a student at the Singapore Hotel And Tourism Education Centre (Shatec) and the Culinary Institute of America as well as an intern at Pan Pacific Singapore – to get this far.

Ng first got an internship at Momofuku Ko – he showed up at the bar on a Saturday afternoon, after sending out 20 emails – with his knives and chef’s coat to ask for a trial. “Even if I was rejected, at least I’d know immediately,” he recalled. He passed the trial and started his internship the following week. From there, he worked his way to reach commis chef position at Ko in 2013, where he was in charge of receiving stocks, cleaning the produce and making meals for the restaurant crew.

“At Ssäm, we really encourage and celebrate diversity, because that’s very important to our creative process. As Singaporeans, we’ve been exposed to so many cultures, not only Southeast Asian, but French, Ja

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