Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eighteen Chefs

An entry long overdue. Had lunch at Eighteen Chefs with a few friends one weekday afternoon. What's interesting and noble (to a certain extent) about Eighteen Chefs is that it takes in ex convicts and delinquents and helps them turn over a new leaf by training them in the food business. Its owner and head chef, Benny Se Teo, who was a former drug addict, trained at Jamie Oliver's London restaurant, Fifteen.

Interior & Menu

Located at a corner of Eastpoint just next to the POSB, Eighteen Chefs has a rather simple interior which can seat up to about 50 pax. This place runs on a self service system hence no service charge is levied. To order your food, simply fill up a form and bring it to the counter to make payment. Your orders will then be served to you shortly.

Baked Rice with Creamy White Sauce & Chicken Slices ($8.90)

You get to choose what kind of sauce you want for your baked rice as well as the ingredients that go into it. Honestly, the baked rice I had (see above) was decent but nothing to shout about. While the cheese was nice and thick, I found the rice a little too bland for my liking and the cream sauce did little to help. But at $8.90, its relatively cheaper and quality is slightly better than the ones they serve at Swensens.

Eighteen Funky Strawberry ($5.80)

$5.80 for 4 scoops of ice cream served with strawberries, hazelnuts and oreo biscuits - now that should be excellent value for money really. It would have been better if the strawberries had been fresher and if the ice cream had been been richer. My guess is that they gave us tub ice cream from the supermarket.


A decent lunch for 3 inclusive of a dessert to share cost just over $35, which is still pretty acceptable for the quality. Service was excellent and even though the food wasn't exactly stellar, I'll be back to try other stuff. After all, life is all about second chances isn't it?

Likes: Excellent service, reasonable pricing
Dislikes: Average food

Final Verdict:
Service:7.5/10 (Impressive because no service charge)
Value for money:7/10


Address: #01-36 Eastpoint Mall, 3 Simei Street 6

Contact: 6782 1298

Opening Hours:

Sun-Thu: 12noon - 9.30pm

Fri-Sat: 12noon - 10.30pm



Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "to a certain extend"..?? pray enlighten..?

fatpig said...

well I guess some people might not term such an act to be noble.

Anonymous said...

i still donch quite comprehend.. FP..?? why would some ppl not think it is a noble act..?? what is not noble about it..?? are you saying.. that customer/s or other ppl who never got into trouble with the law .. may slight them.. and the owner..?? no .. i donch get it..?? as for me.. i applaud .. man like Benny Teo.. because if you donch know by now.. ex-convicts turned back to crime or drugs.. because they have no where to turn to... or make themselves feel useful. I certainly want myself.. and my loved ones.. to be given a second chance.. if i was a ex-convict.. plus it definitely isn't an easy task that Benny Teo is undertaking. Surely, there is no need to doubt his sincerity.. nor should we even go there. Everyone should be given a second chance.. and for those who provides it.. i think .. they should be supported. I can go on .. and on.. and on.. about it. But i wished .. there were more Benny Teos around.

fatpig said...

I applaud people like Benny Teo too, but the act of nobility isn't just about giving people 2nd chances. Being noble probably entails "sacrificing" something or going out of your way to do something for people, for society. I guess it depends on how you define the noble and how strictly you want to cut it. =)

Anonymous said...

Setting up a small cafe / restaurant needs a minimal set-up capital of $200k. $200k is only for basic and minimal set-up with abt 60-70% of it going to kitchen equiment. Monthly operation cost is est to b abt $30k (operation cost is going up rapidly due to the increasing food / oil rates & crazy rental fees.)& excluding A&P expenses.

To break even, one needs a min of at least 2years and only if you are very good, and the operation cost remains stable.

It takes alot of money to set up a F&B outlet, in this case of 18 Chefs, besides the huge money factor, it takes of lot of faith & conviction to make this idea work.

And sacrifices there will be.

People who r behind the idea and concept of 18 Chefs sacrificed safer & better money making opportunities to "invest" in this business & most importantly, THE PEOPLE. Do consider the "risk and faith" factor because is run by people with "challenging" backgrounds whom many had choosen not to trust. The Training Chef sacrifices his career path to teach and train ex-convicts in the craft. The training part is no small feat. Those who are in the know of the F&B Service Industry will understand that majority of trainees, be it kitchen or service staff will not stay long because of the hard and long hours. Even if they were to stay, it will be perhaps for just 1 year or 2 and will jump boat when given a choice. Hence, it is an endless training and retraining journey.

In normal circumstances, it is already a very tough. risky and challenging business, and for 18 Chefs, I salute thee (the people behind and the people upfront); for this social enterprise concept is indeed a noble act to which many of us do not have the courage to partake.

Fatpig, I enjoyed reading your food reviews. By reviewing 18 Chefs, you've given them the much needed publicity ; ). I do hope more food bloggers will visit and write reviews on F&B outlets such as the 18 Chefs ; )

Petite Mummy

fatpig said...

Hi petite mummy, thank you for sharing your well articulated comments. I certainly do salute Benny and the other people who have made eighteen chefs possible but I do draw the line at deeming it noble.

Before anyone jumps the gun, please allow me to explain myself.

I believe that the intrinsic notion of wanting to help someone/people in itself by sacrificing something is noble but lets not forget that this is a business, something that's profit driven. I've personally come across many organisations who hide behind a facade of being a not for profit organisation but are really profit driven, which explains my cynicism.

From a marketing perspective, such a marketing strategy would serve to enhance the brand name through social marketing which plays on peoples perceptions and emotions.

I am definitely not implying that eighteen chefs is such an organisation or questioning Mr Benny's integrity. What I am merely saying is that take everything with a pinch of salt.

Having said that, I will continue to give Benny my support and hope that more people will take the leap so that we may have more of such social enterprises in future.

ps: Hope I make sense cause my mind is not working right from lack of sleep.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. Understand your cynicism. Yup...agree - need to take everything w a pitch of salt. Goodnite ;)

Petite Mummy