Meet The Chefs Behind The New Special Menu At Social

By Mallika Dabke November 22, 2017

When The Singapore Board of Tourism brought Chef Bjorn Shen of Singapore’s restaurants Artichoke, Bird Bird, and ice cream brand NehNehPop, and Chef Gresham Fernandes, Culinary Director at Impresario’s uber cool Social together, it was seemingly a perfect match. The two Chefs met up to bring a bit of Singapore to Mumbai’s hip scene and curated a special menu together.

We met with the two powerhouses to understand their menu, and its process and were left with some exquisite insight.

On how their collaboration took form, Chef Gresham explained, “Singapore Tourism Board got in touch with us because we’d done an event with them earlier in Delhi. They liked our work and wanted to do it on a bigger scale this year. They also wanted to get artists, musicians and chefs together. So they asked us to come and do a recce in Singapore, and Bjorn was our guide for a day. We saw his restaurant, Artichoke and it reminded me a lot of what we have over here, and he was a super fun guy. Our styles matched, and it was like love at first sight,” he chuckled.

We can't wait to try the Fried Chicken Donut.

We can’t wait to try the Fried Chicken Donut.

Chef Bjorn told us about how Chef Gresham took him around town about three weeks ago. Gresham showed him around Pali Market, Khar Danda Market and the Bazaar Road in Bandra, after which he took him to eat some Mumbai style street food to help him understand the local palate. 

One very strong sentiment both the Chefs held on to, was the use of local ingredients and produce.  “When you do things in any location, the best food is from around you, not halfway around the globe,” mused Chef Bjorn, as the pair of them indulged in explaining the importance of what they were trying to convey. “I didn’t bring anything at all. I said everything needs to be found here. If we can’t find it here, we improvise. For our dessert, I wanted to use a palm sugar granita with Coconut Ice Cream. But the palm sugar that I’m used to working with in Singapore isn’t available here, so straight away we decided on using jaggery. Boom, improvisation!”

They found something to learn from each other, and something that incited inspiration.

I used to cook with a lot of restraint. I cook typical super fine dining style, and I’ve not followed his style for a very long time. He’s just a free soul, free spirit. When I buy cookbooks, it’s usually to see if ideas that I thought were mine have already been done before. I read his Artichoke Cookbook, and I found little things, that made me think I wish I could have thought of that. You learn from each other, and you build on each other’s ideas.”, said Chef Gresham.

“You don’t consciously think about it. Every experience becomes a part of you moving forward. I’m so inspired by his vegetable cooking, I’m taking some cabbage back home to experiment with,” grinned Chef Bjorn.

Grilled Haloumi with Burnt Honey Carrots, Basil and Shaved Walnuts.

Grilled Haloumi with Burnt Honey Carrots, Basil and Shaved Walnuts.

Their Singapore X Social menu includes a gin-based cocktail called Friday Lemonade, Feta Burrata, Grilled Haloumi, Uncle Will’s Crab Curry Dip, a Fried Chicken Doughnut, and Lemak Ice for dessert.

The menu is currently being served at all the outlets of Social in Mumbai, until the 10th of December 2017.