Chef Damian started cooking at an early age, as free kitchen help, in both his grandfather and grandmother’s kitchens. He was drawn to the kitchen because he was so intrigued by how so many ingredients could be put together to make food taste so good.
His grandfather was an excellent cook and executed Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian cuisines while his grandma was a strong believer that the Peranakan cuisine was the most complex and diversified cuisine Singapore had to offer. Blessed with close encounters of these diverse cuisines, Chef Damian soon developed adept skills and knowledge to execute these local cuisines. His personal ethos is what his grandmother would always say to him always, “If your heart and soul is not in sync then the food will not be remembered”.
After returning from work in Italy and France in 1999, he started his first venture Citrine Chocolat in 2000, specialising in European Seasonal Cooking. However, as much as he loved European cuisine, it was not what he grew up eating so he moved on to The Soul Kitchen that specialised in Singapore Heritage Cuisine while also offered European fare.
He worked for The Soul Kitchen mainly providing high-end catering till 2005. Subsequently, he developed specific caterings that respected the cuisine for what it was, re-introducing many dishes that were deemed to be too 'time-consuming'.
As part of his plan to keep Singapore Heritage Cuisine alive, he worked closely with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to promote the cuisine abroad. He is passionate about teaching or cooking French, Italian, Chinese, Indian (mainly Ceylonese), Peranakan, Eurasian and Malay cuisines.
Over the past 12 years, he has cooked and talked about Singapore Heritage Cuisine in Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, Australia, United States, Germany, Italy, Sri Lanka, Middle East and United Kingdom, believing that the Singapore cuisine is not only unique, but that it’s a cuisine that was derived from all the different ethnic cuisines that have migrated to Singapore, and therefore deserves standing as one of the cuisines of the world which he calls “Organic Fusion”.
He is currently the executive chef of Folklore at three-month-old hotel Destination Singapore Beach Road.