PATRICK TAN | Chef-Owner
Armed with a passion for cooking, Patrick Tan joined the food & beverage industry at the tender age of 17. His lack of formal training did not faze the plucky teenager and soon, Patrick earned his way to the kitchens of popular Japanese restaurants such as Tatsuya, one of the finest establishments of its kind in Singapore. It was here that Patrick met award-winning Chef Ronnie Chia. Under Chef Ronnie’s tutelage, Patrick picked up his excellent sushi and sashimi skills and earned his stripes in Japanese cuisine.
Today, Patrick's culinary chops are on display at Tamashii Robataya, the robatayaki restaurant that he started with fellow Chef Max See. In just a year since its opening, Tamashii already has an accolade to its name: the 'Award of Excellence' from the 'G Restaurant Awards 2014'. Tamashii is Patrick's second F&B venture following another successful Japanese restaurant in Mohamed Sultan Road, which he previously co-owned with a partner for eight years.
At Tamashii, the 34-year-old leads a team of six other chefs, guided by a teaching philosophy that is magnanimous to say the least. While many chefs are known to keep some of their secrets from their apprentices, Patrick is not one to hold back. "I will teach them whatever they want to learn and share all my knowledge with them. From there, it is up to them to absorb," he says.
Warm and congenial, Patrick also leads by example on the restaurant floor, which he works together with his wife Nicole; both blessed with a flair for hospitality and dedicated to creating a fabulous and memorable dining experience for guests. "In this job, you've got to perform like an actor; when you go up onto this stage, you must act well and bring only happiness to the customer. Your job is to make sure that everybody comes to the restaurant happy and leaves happy," shares Patrick, referring to the robatayaki 'stage', which involves a certain degree of theatrics as the chefs grill the food behind the counter while diners watch.
MAX SEE | Chef-Owner
For Max See, cooking is about serving good food to make people happy. "When people are happy eating your food, that means your cooking skills are acknowledged and that makes me happy," Max says, clearly relishing the intrinsic reward his job brings.
The 38-year-old co-owner of Tamashii Robataya boasts almost two decades of experience under his belt. All his culinary skills were learnt entirely on the job; a trait he shares in common with his business partner and fellow chef, Patrick Tan.
Max's foray into the world of gastronomy began at a Japanese restaurant in Ginza Plaza. Two years later, he dabbled in Western cuisine before running his own zi char stall in Ang Mo Kio for five years. He then ran a chicken rice stall at Far East Plaza for a year and then decided to give up being his own boss to level up his skills – at Aoki Japanese Restaurant by the Les Amis Group. Returning to Japanese fare was like a homecoming and Max fell in love with the cuisine all over again. He stayed at the fine dining establishment for seven years, learning the fine art of preparing traditional Japanese food at Aoki.
"With Japanese cuisine, there's more room to indulge your imagination; to try new things, create new dishes," says Max, who flies to Japan at least once a year for inspiration. His passion for cooking is driven by his insatiable curiosity for the culinary arts. "I love that there is no end in this trade; there is always something new you can learn; something new you can create," he shares spiritedly.
Regarded as cheerful and easygoing by his peers, Max lives by one mantra when it comes to training his kitchen staff at the year-old Tamashii: "I always tell my apprentices that when they cook, they should cook as if they are trying to impress their girlfriend."