Cotton On

Share with us one interesting random fact you know:
Dogs sneeze when they play with other dogs (or with humans) to let them know they’re play fighting, not fighting for real.

Is there anything that you collect?
I collect tasting menus from the different restaurants I’ve dined at around the world, like Gaggan in Bangkok and White Rabbit in Moscow. I also buy vintage menus online or at specialty bookshops like Books For Cooks in Melbourne if I can find one from restaurants or cities I’ve been to. I think the menus offer a snapshot of the food trends of the moment, which is fascinating to me because cooking styles are always evolving.

If you could trade lives with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
I’d trade lives with Pete Wells, the food critic of The New York Times—he has my dream job, so it’d be useful to know what I should be working towards. Trading lives would also mean he gets to live as me, and I hope he gets to see what Singapore has to offer, from our hawker centres to boundary-pushing restaurants. I think Singaporean food is still underrepresented internationally, even with its diversity and deliciousness, so having him write a piece about us would be worth the annoyance of not being in my own body.

What’s an experience you’ve had that changed your perspective on something?
When I had to teach secondary school students fresh out of JC. I felt totally ill-equipped for the job, but due to a lack of manpower, I had to teach three subjects to four classes. It completely changed my perspective of the profession—both on how much teachers have to do, and how teaching is not just about the subject matter, but also the relationships you build with the students.

What is one good habit you think people should form early in life?
Being polite. It’s really easy to say please and thank you, and it makes the other person’s day a little brighter, so why not?

What would be the title of your biography?
My Life On The Table.

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