Cook for fun
Co-founders of CulinaryOn, Alex Blanc and Giulio D’Erme, bring their concoction of dynamic and personalised culinary classes to Singapore.
Tell us what CulinaryOn is about.
Giulio D’Erme: The idea was to create a culinary entertainment multiplex, where people get together for a hands-on experience with a private chef: the participants are given basic instructions by the toque before moving to their own stations to cook. It’s not so much about the cooking but the process, where you interact with people and try something different.
We also get companies who come for team-bonding sessions. We try to make the experience as effortless as possible. If you look at how the space is set up—there are four connected rooms and a conference room—the entire 7,000 square feet can be broken up to accommodate smaller groups. Alex Blanc: If you want to learn Thai cuisine and there’s a specific chef you like, we can contact him on your behalf and you get a private cooking session with him. We also have resident chefs who encourage you to customise the dishes according to your preference.
Why do you think cooking events are getting popular?
Giulio D’Erme: In the past year, there has been an interest in food-related programmes so we’ve been riding this wave. I think that has changed what cooking means to the family—it has become an activity that people do for entertainment or health reasons.
Before that, it was a task or chore and that fell on mothers. But in Italy, the kitchen has always been a place where you pass on traditions, share your problems and convey your emotions. We want to recreate this atmosphere that is forgotten in today’s homes.
Alex Blanc: It’s a fact that if you cook, you eat better. This is why we’ve just done our first cookbook with 40 Italian recipes. It’s important for us to have relatively easy recipes that you can learn in the few hours you’re here with us, and then recreate them back home.
Was there anything you had to change when you brought the concept over to Singapore?
Giulio D’Erme: We’ve enlarged the bar area to create a fullservice bar that can host cocktail parties. We do have bars in Moscow but they are focused on serving wines.
Alex Blanc: We have individual bars serving grappa (the only place in Singapore where you’ll find 40 types of this brandy), whisky and cognac.
What are your plans for the near future?
Alex Blanc: I think we still have a lot to learn here. We have only done 20 events so far. Singapore’s economy has relied on the industrial, financial and tourism sectors in the past, and there is now a big emphasis from the relevant authorities to foster creativity and entrepreneurship. We want to be a part of that.