#PSMeetTheTeam : Chef Gehan (Sous Chef)
At age 37, Chef Gehan has worked in different countries and is currently a Sous Chef for PS.Cafe at Palais Renaissance. He first joined us in May 2009 as a Chef De Partie. Here's a short interview we did with him!
How’s your journey towards becoming a Chef started?
My journey towards being a chef started unexpectedly. When I was growing up in Sri Lanka, I wanted to be a Computer Engineer, however I stumbled across an opportunity to move to Japan. I went ahead thinking I could gain overseas work experience as well as a chance to live abroad. While studying Japanese language, I started working as a waiter at T.G.I Friday and a year after that I was offered to work in the kitchen. Learning how to cook western food such as burgers, pizza, pastas, I realized computer engineering was no longer the career path I envisioned in a long run. I discovered my passion for food and cooking through my first job there and decided to gain more culinary experiences by working at different Japanese restaurants while in Japan. Japanese people are very dedicated and strict at work; they would work 15 hours a day. One of the significant memories that I had was working as chef for 3 days in a row without sleeping to earn extra income. They appreciate people that work hard like that.
When did you move to Singapore then?
I was first offered a 2 years contract working as a chef at Saudi Arabia before Singapore, which I went ahead with. Only after a few months, I realized that I couldn't get a long with the environment and climate there. It was so different from where I’ve lived, I was really homesick and almost gave up. However, remembering why I took the opportunity, which is to learn, I completed the contract and decided to move to Singapore to pursuit my further study in western culinary. As a fresh graduate, I had a chance to have my first training at PS.Cafe and had stayed ever since.
How long ago was that?
8 years ago.
What do you love the most about your job at PS?
I would say the freedom to explore, learn and be creative when it comes to creating dishes. It’s an exciting environment to be in. I was lucky enough to be trained by dedicated, passionate and open-minded senior chefs towards food and work, which had inspired me to be the chef I am today.
What are your all time favorite PS dishes?
Definitely PS. Burger!
What’s your favorite local food?
It’s not really local per se, but I can still find it in Singapore; it would be Penang Laksa. That combination of sour laksa broth and pineapple is so appetizing.
What’s your ideal comfort food - Is there anything you won’t eat?
Comfort food to me means anything Japanese from Sushi, Sashimi, Soba to Karage. However, my least favorite food would be a Japanese too; it’s called Natto (Nut). A traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis (catalase-positive bacterium found in soil). The smells and the texture reminds me so much of Durian.
Any advice you would give to someone wanting to become a chef?
Know your passion and have great interest as well as passion in what you do. Keep learning and be open-minded, stay focus, dedicate wholly, and push yourself to try. Start by learning from recipes, traveling abroad when you can and slowly explore your own too. Sometimes you’d feel like tired and giving up halfway, but remember that it takes great dedication, patience time and effort to be a chef.
What’s next for you?
There will be a new special dish with curry coming some time next week at PS. Other than that, I’m excited to explore Spain next month. It will be 2 weeks of cooking course in Madrid and 2 weeks of traveling solo to other parts of Spain. I can't wait to taste their local dishes - hopefully after this trip there will be more Spanish-influence in PS dishes, we’ll see!