Update: We’ve just received word that chef Ivan Brehm will handing over the reins of The Kitchen at Bacchanalia to another. All the best in your next endeavours, chef!
Ivan Brehm sees value in everything. The executive head chef of The Kitchen at Bacchanalia has been guided by this motto since his four-year training stint under British chef Heston Blumenthal, a culinary genius well known for his experimental ways. Brehm learnt from Blumenthal that small details, like a doorknob’s temperature, matter. “You can impact a guest’s experience massively before he even tries your food,” says the 32-year-old. “People think it’s a gimmick, but these things all come together, whether the person knows it or not.”
Although he once thought of becoming a lawyer, Brehm’s first experience working in the kitchen of a fine-dining Turkish restaurant in his native country of Brazil cemented his love of cooking at age 18. Since then, he has worked under Thomas Keller at Per Se and David Shea at Applewood in New York City, as well as at other top-notch restaurants in Europe, including The Fat Duck in Bray, England.
In 2013, Brehm moved to Singapore to head Bacchanalia. He might have been hyped up as Blumenthal’s prodigy, but Brehm was quick to prove that he lives in nobody’s shadow. Together with chef de cuisine Mark Ebbels, the two turned fine dining on its head by adding fun touches to their food. Norwegian hand-dived scallops, for instance, were dusted with cocoa and served on their shell. The restaurant, then located in Coleman Street, won Best Restaurant of the Year (Western) in the G Restaurant Awards 2014. Though Bacchanalia’s former interiors of dark wood and sumptuous red velvet seats have been swopped for contemporary Scandinavian blond wood and an open kitchen concept in its new Hong Kong Street location, Brehm’s passion for crafting creative modern European dishes remains unchanged.