Planning a Singapore barbecue and want to impress your friends? Up your grill game and learn from experts like DAVID YAP at the new Grill Academy at Duxton by Weber Singapore. We talk to this passionate chef and grill master and learn about his culinary journey and the timeless art of cooking on a grill.
Can you tell us more about the Grill Academy at Weber Singapore?
The first Grill Academy in Singapore and in Southeast Asia opened in Joo Chiat, providing people with hands-on barbeque demonstrations and an opportunity to practice using Weber’s gas and charcoal grills. Anyone – Weber and non-Weber grill owners alike – can sign up for the localised one-day Weber Course. A maximum of 12 participants can join, ensuring that every grill enthusiast gets personal Facetime with Weber’s seasoned teaching chefs.
We’re very excited to announce the opening of our new Weber Experience store located in Duxton this month. The store will provide our guests with an exceptional experience from purchasing a new grill or accessories to taking part in classes at the new Grill Academy.
What’s different about this Duxton location to your other outlets?
The Duxton store will serve as our flagship for Weber Singapore and Southeast Asia; the focus is on making the store a lifestyle destination rather than just a shop for barbecues. There will be different destination points to showcase a range of grills and bring the barbecue lifestyle to reality, ensuring those who have always aspired to own a Weber can now do so. The new store will also include the Grill Academy; this is the second such Academy in Singapore, enabling Weber to reach out to even more grill enthusiasts.
How did your culinary journey lead you to the grill?
It has been a rough ride for me. I had to learn almost all my professional culinary skills at an expedited pace. I was trained as an oil and gas engineer and worked at an energy firm on Jurong Island for 20 years before I decided to do a mid-career switch. Why? I just wanted to pursue my passion for cooking.
So I took a leap of faith and left my career to pursue my culinary dreams. It was difficult at first, but with hard work I was rewarded with a stint overseas where I trained at a Korean restaurant for six months. I later returned to head their chain as a head chef for three years. After that, I spent time working and training with a German chain restaurant.
Two years later, I left and joined the Istana to serve the President of Singapore Madam Halimah Yacob. After finishing my contract, I joined Four Seasons and taught at Allspice Institute before joining Weber Singapore.
What are some of the courses available? Which do you recommend for beginners and experts?
We have a variety of courses including Discover Grilling, American Classic, Advance Western, Mediterranean Classics, Indian Classics, Vegetarian Classics and more. I would recommend beginners to try the Discover Grilling class, while experts could try the Mediterranean Classics class.
Do you prefer a gas or charcoal grill?Which would you recommend to a novice?
A grill is an investment, so a thorough understanding of the product is paramount before you buy. That being said, I would recommend that you start with the basics of barbecue. A charcoal grill may sound complicated, but when you’ve mastered the art of grilling on a Weber Kettle and tasted the food that comes off that grill, there is no turning back! Gas and electric grills are also great as they make grilling easy.
Apart from the grill itself, what other pieces of equipment are essential?
Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise! Barbecuing without accompanying accessories will make the experience a painful one. How will you turn your proteins, mix the vegetables or adjust the coals without the tongs? How will you know if your meat is cooked on the inside without a thermometer or baste your chicken without a brush?
One of the most important accessories will be the grill cover – without it, your grill (and your food!) will be exposed to the environment, which can lead to unnecessary flare-ups and uneven heat distribution.
Grilling tends to be pretty meat-heavy; what if I’m vegetarian?
Not a problem! You can cook almost anything that can fit into a Weber grill and it will come out smelling delicious. At the Academy, we’ve also designed vegetarian dishes that can be cooked on the grill – everything from eggplant to pizza, to bread and butter pudding and more.
What’s your favourite thing about teaching others to grill?
I like to see people happy because it makes me happy. I also enjoy being able to share my two cents and see participants succeed in their goals. My mantra is “Your success is my success”.
What’s your go-to dish for a Singapore barbecue?
I love all things barbecue, but if I have to choose, it would be Korean-style gochujang baby back ribs. Watch out for some of my go-to dishes on the Grill Academy course list in the future!
What are some of the more unconventional barbecue dishes you’ve experimented with?
“LA galbi” (a beef short-rib dish), grilled tteokbokki with gochujang (spicy rice cakes), and ginseng chicken soup, just to name a few.
Want to take your Singapore barbecue skills to the next level? Visit weber.com and sign up for a class at the new Weber Grill Academy at Duxton and learn from the best!
The new Weber store is at 34 Duxton Road, #01-00.
This article first appeared in the July 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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