Chef Sam Neoh 1-Group

Sam Neoh – Culinary Associate Director 1-Group

Sam Neoh – Culinary Associate Director of 1-Group

In this interview, Sam Neoh – Culinary Associate Director of 1-Group, shares some stories about current projects and how he got into the industry.

What do you do?

I am a Culinary Associate Director at 1-Group.

How did you get into the industry?

Having been in this industry for more than 28 years now, I attribute much of my passion and dedication to the influences of my upbringing. My journey began by watching my mother, a skilled hawker who ran a stall serving local delicacies. From a young age, I shadowed her, captivated by her artistry in every aspect of her craft. Her dedication and attention to detail left a lasting impression on me, whether it was her deftly sliced chilli, the rhythmic pounding of herbs and spices in the mortar, or the delicate touch she employed in garnishing each bowl of noodles. Her unwavering commitment and pride in her work ignited a passion for cooking within me. This passion has only deepened over time. I recognised early on that the culinary world held a profound fascination for me, and I’ve been devoted to it ever since.

What food memory from your childhood or travels stands out?

The delightful combination of sour, spicy and savoury notes of my mother’s asam fish soup. The soup was bursting with layers of flavours, the tangy tamarind, spicy chilli and delicate sweetness of the fish. To this day, the memory of my mother’s soup remains a treasured reminder of home, stories and the comfort of her cooking.

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

The best part is being constantly exposed to all varieties and different types of ingredients from different parts of the world. It pushes me to continuously explore new tastes, textures, and styles when creating new dishes. Exposure always allows chefs of different levels to keep pushing the boundaries in the culinary aspect.

The worst part is something personal. Being a chef is very time-consuming, and you must sacrifice time with your family. I spend a lot of time at work… it would be nice to have more of that with my family.

What’s one of Sam Neoh’s favourite food and beverage pairings?

Dim sum with Champagne

The perfect day off would be…

… a morning workout in the gym, a good brunch, a pampering session (facial or mani/pedicure)… a good rest at home and dinner with my family.

A day in the life of Sam Neoh is…

… a packed schedule.

What does Sam Neoh do for fun?

I’m a healthy person, given my current age and the food process nowadays. I usually keep fit with a healthy life routine. I go to the gym to keep my mental and physical states strong and care about my daily food intake. Besides that, I also enjoy visiting restaurants to learn about in-trend concepts.

How have you grown in your profession? What have you learned from your start in the industry until now? Are there any misconceptions?

I started from the bottom as commis-3. I think it’s normal to have misconceptions in every working environment, but that’s not a key thing for us to stop growing if we have passion. Growing is about building up one person, each time and anywhere.

What do you want people to know about being a culinary director as a profession?

It’s not easy to be at this stage, but as long as you have a heart, you will survive. In this profession, I oversee everything from the current outlets’ culinary, management and procurement to the new projects for One Group-International. For example, since early 2023, I have been overseeing the project of One Group for Malaysia, 1-Altitude Melaka, with five of our top brands in Singapore 1A-BAR/WILDSEED/MONTI/FLNT/MIMI located at the highest residency building + mall in the city.

What’s so special about 1-Group?

1-Group in Singapore is a leading F&B, lifestyle & hospitality group that operates a portfolio of iconic restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs created with heart, purpose, and a vision for providing exceptional experiences. Over the decade, we have witnessed countless first dates, celebrations, weddings, and events, and we continue to be the makers of great memories for Singapore and aim to be an international country.

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

The practices I do for my social responsibility are usually charity for children and old folks’ homes. No matter how hard we work, we need to give back to others to have a good blessing in the future and forever.

Read more interviews with people in the hospitality industry here, like Sam Neoh, and stay updated with the latest gourmet and travel recommendations on The Yum List on Facebook here and The Yum List on Instagram here. 

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