Interview with Chef Adam Penney, Potato Head Folk, Singapore
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I think I’ve been the Three Buns chef since I was a little boy. I’ve always loved food and remember baking a lot, especially cookies and cakes. My parents worked long hours and rather than cooking at home, we would eat out most weekends. I loved it. The wonder and the intrigue of smells, noises and the hustle and bustle in the kitchens made me look forward to a dinner out with the family. By 15, I decided to work for commercial kitchens as a part timer. By 21, I was on board as a full time chef. Twenty years later, I still love the kitchen. I’m still learning new flavors and skills, and best of all, I still love to eat.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of the job is that we get to eat what we want and when we want it. We live in a playground of ingredients and flavors. When I see the look on people’s faces when they are savouring my burgers, it’s most gratifying.
The worst part of the job is that most of us are misfits of society. The long hours, grabbing little bits of sunlight here and there. And these days, smelling like burgers most of the time.
What’s your personal favourite meal?
At Potato Head Folk – It’s got to be the lamb-pattied Rambo with a side of Naughty Fries ‘cos I’m a naughty chef.
In Singapore, I’m fortunate enough to venture to a lot of good places to eat and drink. I’m a big fan of the Sea Urchin Pudding at Lolla on Ann Siang Hill. On the flip side, in more rustic settings, is a meal that made me cry – the Simmered Salted Egg Crab at Keng Eng Kee. This heartland, coffee shop restaurant serves up a wicked meal.
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
When I first started cooking at 15, the head chef stabbed a waiter with a kitchen knife. He survived, thank goodness.
The perfect day off would be…
With the love of my life, Saffy, eating some damn tasty food, a few tipples and getting up to no good.
A life in the day of a chef is…
I wake up at 8am, head straight to the Potato Head Folk kitchen, grab a double espresso, check on supplies and then fire up the grills, get the mise en place going, and then it’s action till we close at midnight. And it all starts again, tomorrow…
What do you do for fun?
Explore the world of food.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about the cuisine prepared at Potato Head Folk?
Food came from the soul and made with love. They are full of punchy flavors and cheeky twists.
How do you select your ingredients and why?
In England, I think about what I wanna eat and it’s there. In Asia, I think about what’s available that is fresh, wholesome and full of flavor.
What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?
I’m exploring working with fish heads and grilling them up to perfection. BBQ grills and smoking sessions at Potato Head Folk’s Rooftop is going to be a great highlight very soon.