Alex liu, sushi head chef of Rakuzen's millenia walk outlet, is not afraid to break sushi-making tradition by combining asian and western flavours.
Where have you previously worked at?
London was where I built most of my culinary experience.
I started doing an apprenticeship in a fine dining Japanese restaurant called Ikkusan and was promoted to head chef in 2011 at Hi-Sushi, a casual Japanese restaurant.
Do you think there is difference between sushi restaurants in London and Singapore?
There is definitely a wider variety of fishes you can get here than in London; you can only get the common kinds of fish such as salmon, tuna, mekajiki (swordfish) and saba in the English capital.
Why did you decide to specialise in Japanese cuisine?
I liken Japanese cuisine to fine arts because it allows me the same creative freedom and it's rather satisfying to see my customers enjoy my creations. I've an interest in photography so the aesthetic component in the cuisine appeals to me as well. I read somewhere that a visual appreciation of food can increase diners' appetites and happiness as they eat.
What is a seasonal ingredient you'll be using for the month of December?
The taraba kani or Hokkaido king crab, which is prepared simply such as grilled with sea salt or mentaiko then served with a slice of lemon to showcase its delicate flavour.
Since you've joined, what changes have you made to the menu?
Rakuzen is getting more international and well-travelled customers so I've created a variety of sushi rolls with a fusion of Asian and Western flavours such as the Dragon Roll. It is made up of a fried tiger prawn wrapped in sushi rice, topped with avocado slices and tobiko (flying fish roe). We'll also create sushi not found in the menu to suit an individual's preference, for example we've made salmon mentaiko sushi and sushi rolls wrapped in cabbage instead of seaweed.