Chef Marc Raphael Joseph The Bread Bar TTDI

Marc Raphael Joseph, Chef-owner The Bread Bar

Marc Raphael Joseph

In this interview, Marc Raphael Joseph, chef-owner of The Bread Bar, shares his story and advice for anyone wanting to open their own restaurant.

How did you get into the industry?

I’ve always felt like the creative type from an early age, and the idea of creating something out of raw ingredients and turning it into a work of art that nourishes people was what drew me in.

Share with us a story from behind the scenes.

The first few months after opening The Bread Bar were riddled with operation nightmares, from water cuts and electricity issues. It was definitely a huge challenge trying to be prepared for the unexpected. Still, everyone on the team adapted and made adjustments with all this going on while churning out excellent products and services. Some of the toughest times we had, and we weathered the storm together.

What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?

When I was a kid, my grandmother would look after me while my parents were at work. But when it came time for her to cook lunch, she’d sit me down on the kitchen counter top and to keep me from annoying her, she’d put a small pot of water on the stove and turn the heat on low. She would then ask me to go through the spice cabinet directly behind me and pick and choose what I’d like to add to create my own concoction. By the time she was done cooking, she would taste “my creation”, and she would compliment it every single time. God bless her because I highly doubt it ever tasted good or, at times, even edible! But I’m sure she’d be happy to know I’ve gotten much better at it.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?

The best part of my job is that I truly love what I do, and I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more. The chase for perfection, the pressure, and being able to build a team and be responsible for them it’s something I do love.

I wouldn’t say there’s the worst part, but when you run a business that you care so much about, there’s no switching off. It could be 5 am, and I would be trying to fall asleep, but ideas of how to make things better come to mind, and it’s down a rabbit hole from then on. So in that regard, it would be nice to switch off occasionally.

What’s one of the (wildest) things you’ve seen behind the scenes?

It was during dinner service at one of the restaurants I worked at before, and things got heated between one of the chefs and the head chef. After a quick-fire argument, the chef just packed his things, walked over to me, casually said, “see ya,” and walked out of the kitchen.

The perfect day off for Marc Raphael Joseph would be…

Waking up slightly later than usual, not having to rush for a meeting or be anywhere. Probably just having a cup of coffee and thinking about ideas that had been brushed off before, being able to really think about how to execute some of them. And lastly, just having a good meal to end the day.

What’s something you’d like guests to know about The Bread Bar?

I want our guests to know what we’re trying to achieve regarding our food, ambience and drinks. Simply put, I understand that it’s a different look and feel than most people are used to when it comes to breakfast/brunch establishments. But that’s the whole point! To do things differently and create different dining experiences, to redefine what is to what could be.

How has the pandemic changed your perspective or the way you operate?

It has changed in many ways, most importantly in understanding customer needs and paying closer attention to general cleanliness. Not to mention looking out for the team’s health and taking no chances when someone calls in feeling slightly sick.

What’s something you’d like people to know about being a chef as a profession?

That it’s long hours and physically, mentally and emotionally tiring. Not to mention you’ll miss plenty of occasions with friends and family. This life is definitely not what’s depicted on TV shows. Still, if you have the passion for it and are willing to stick to it, you’ll learn so much about yourself, the limits you have as a professional, being humble and having a sense of gratitude.

What advice does Marc Raphael Joseph have for anyone looking to open their own restaurant?

Always find the right team, partners and people who are on the same page as you. I’ve seen so many restaurants with potential fail purely due to the lack of these things. It’s very important that everyone from the start understands what their roles are and executes them to the best of their abilities, and as an owner, learn to trust the team that they can handle the tasks that have been given to them.

The second part of this would be to plan before signing a lease and before spending any money. Planning is free. Structure yourself, set a timeline for things and always leave room for error because things change along the way, and unforeseen circumstances may arise. Also, take your time in finding a good contractor and interior designer and spend on them as much as your budget allows it. Cutting corners in these areas will come back to bite you in the ass and most probably cost you more money and time down the road.

What’s your view on the food and beverage scene in Kuala Lumpur?

I think the F&B scene in KL has developed more over the last five years than in the previous ten years. With many young talents stepping forward and trying out new concepts, it does look very promising. More importantly, it is how the general market reacts to this, and I do feel more Malaysians are willing to step out of their comfort zones, as well as have a deeper sense of appreciation and respect for this industry and the people in it.

What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement in the future to work towards social responsibility and sustainability?

I think everyone in this industry has a huge role to play in this. For too long, it’s been recognised and excepted that wastage is a massive part of running a restaurant, but taking small steps and making adjustments along the way can really make a difference, as we have at The Bread Bar. By turning certain products, we have into new dishes or even pre-ferments to, later on, be added into our bread or pastries that yield superior flavours.

What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?

Currently, my team and I are working hard on developing dishes and new beverages for our eventual opening for dinner. Concept-wise, it will be very different from what we are currently doing for breakfast, and we do hope everyone stays tuned for that!

Read more interviews such as this one with Marc Raphael Joseph here, and stay up to date with the latest gourmet and travel recommendations here and here.

One Comment

  1. Interesting way to babysit a kid, his grandmother! LOL!!!

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