I got to know The Rebel Chef, Enoch Teo, when I was watching a Facebook live streaming session on JoLive: Reviews & Shares’ channel. Jo was connecting with Enoch on the live stream and they were chatting about Enoch’s hand-made chili sauces and peanuts. I was particularly intrigued as Enoch was showing how we can make spaghetti sauces from the chili sauces which he had carefully crafted with his team. They also showcased several flavours of peanuts which Enoch had hand-made, namely Fiery Mala Bomb, Glorious Truffle and Sexy Tom Yam.
I managed to get my hands on the 3 different flavours of the peanuts. I got a tester to taste the peanuts namely Fiery Mala Bomb and Sexy Tom Yam as I do not eat chili. The verdict she had was Sexy Tom Yam was her favoured choice. She opined that she preferred the Sexy Tom Yam over Fiery Mala Bomb, adding that the Fiery Mala Bomb had an overpowering taste and was definitely not for the faint-hearted. However, Sexy Tom Yam had the right mix of ingredients and the taste was perfect (she is a spicy food lover). As for me, I tasted the non-spicy Glorious Truffles. The truffle taste was strong on the first bite and then mellows out after chewing and the taste is absolutely savory. It would go very well with a can of Kirin or Sapporo Beer. Below are the ingredients as stated on the packaging:
Fiery Mala Bomb is made of 92% Peanuts, 4% Garlic Chili and 4% Thai Dried Chili.
Glorious Truffles is made of 84% Cashew nuts, 12% Truffle Oil, 3% Chopped Truffle and 1% Truffle Salt.
Sexy Tom Yam is made of 92% Peanuts, 2% Kaffir Lime Leaves, 2% Garlic Chips and 4% Thai Dried Chilli.
I got in touch with Enoch after I read about his “infamous” history as the “Rebel Chef”. After our first contact, I decided to write a story on Enoch as his “infamous” years would certainly serve as an inspiration for teenagers who had turned awry mixing with bad company and hopes for a second chance in life doing something honest and worthwhile in their future years to come.
Below is the email interview which I did with Enoch who is now based in Bangkok, Thailand.
(1) How did you pivot from Chinese cooking to French Fine Cuisine during your troubled teens?
Answer: When I was doing my national service, I got inspired by celebrity chefs I watched on shows such as Gordon Ramsay, Daniel Boulud and Joel Roubuchon who were all doing French cuisine. I had an army mate who did his internship in Absinthe and told me they were hiring part-time kitchen helpers for weekends. So, I decided to take up the part-time job and the rest was history.
(2) Which culinary school finally accepted you after Chef Francois Mermiliod wrote you a recommendation?
Answer: I was accepted by At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy, one of the same culinary schools that rejected my application. It was only after the recommendation by Chef Francois did they accept me.
(3) You met the co-founder of Garcons, Immanuel, during your internship at Restaurant Andre, what made you decide to start a business with him and leave a promising career as the Chef with Restaurant Andre?
Answer: I first met Immanuel all the way back in 2011 back when we were the opening team of Restaurant Andre. We later touch based again in 2015 when he started his own business, Immanuel French Kitchen in Bukit Merah and I was running my own business Le Petit Paradis in Katong. We did a series of collaborations together before deciding to start a permanent business together.
(4) Are your businesses Garcons, Alibabar Hawker Bar and Enoch’s European still in business?
Answer: I have ceased all businesses in Singapore since June 2019. I subsequently came to Bangkok to compete as the first and only non-Thai contender in The Next Iron Chef Thailand (Season 2). After finishing as a semi-finalist, a few opportunities arose mostly in private dining and consulting which I do via Rebel Supper Club and I have continued my stay here since.
(5) What made you decide to start a dine-in restaurant Ekkamai in Bangkok?
Answer: A friend told me about the space available during the first wave of COVID-19 in Thailand. I felt that it was an opportunity and decided to take up the space about 2 weeks before the lockdown restrictions were lifted.
(6) I am really enthused by your new food business, Journey By Chef Enoch, which takes traditional Asian dishes from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and other Asian countries, adding some twists to the dishes and reinventing them into new fusion dishes. What are the must-try dishes on your menu?
Answer: I have closed Journey by Chef Enoch during the end of the second wave of COVID-19 here as we couldn’t sustain such a big space and rental with only food delivery and no alcohol sales. For every lockdown in Thailand, it comes with a cease of selling alcohol in restaurants and it is illegal for restaurants to do any delivery of alcohol. Prior to that, I started Fatt Chicken specialising in Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice in May this year which I believe is a more pandemic proof business model in times like these. More information about Fatt Chicken can be found from the link https://www.fattchicken.com/
(7) With Thailand easing dine-in restrictions in Bangkok and several other high-risk provinces, will you be opening for dine-in business since your takeaway and delivery business are already doing so well?
Answer: Yes, I have re-opened Fatt Chicken for dine in with effect from 2nd September 2021 but I am not very hopeful that business will increase much as there is still an imposed curfew from 9pm to 4am daily as well as the ban of selling alcohol in restaurants.
(8) You have also started a packaged food business and you are the first to launch peanuts infused in Asian and European flavourings. The peanuts come in 3 different flavours like Fiery Mala Bomb, Glorious Truffles and Sexy Tom Yum. I got a taste tester and our personal favourites are Glorious Truffles and also Sexy Tom Yum. How are the sales for the packaged peanuts business? Would you be adding more flavours?
Answer: It all started as a very casual pet project during the COVID-19 lockdown and I started selling them on online through social media, Shoppee and Lazada in Thailand. It took off very well and therefore I decided to share these products with Singaporeans back home. Yes, I definitely have more flavours that I want to launch soon!
(9) Do you intend to distribute your packaged peanuts throughout SEA and other parts of Asia?
Answer: I don’t have plans of selling this product outside of Singapore and Thailand. I plan to keep this product small and artisan doing everything by hand at the moment. In the future, after I receive enough feedback and solid sales data, I can re-think about the sales model but there are no plans of that now to sell outside of Singapore and Thailand.
(10) What are your future plans for your packaged food business?
Answer: After being hit with multiple waves of COVID-19, I honestly don’t have very firm and solid hopes and dreams for the next year. I see this as a reset, to forget everything that I used to know, to try and learn new things and see what sticks. However, I am definitely looking forward to expand Fatt Chicken and my packaged food products.
For anyone who is interested in purchasing the peanuts to try out or as gifts for friends, you can contact us on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/korekulturesg by send us a message. The price list is listed below. If you are getting a set of 3 packets as a gift, we are able to gift wrap for you. Just let us know when you place and order via our Facebook Page.
- Fiery Mala peanuts -$4.90
- Glorious Truffle cashews- $5.90
- Tom yum peanuts- $4.90
- Set of 3 (1 of each flavour)- $14