Since opening his modern European restaurant Cure in Keong Saik Road in July, Andrew Walsh has been thriving on minimal sleep. The former head chef of Spanish tapas joint Esquina isn’t just busy dealing with suppliers and coming up with new menus every month. Now that he has a space to call his own, the 32-year-old is finally putting his charity project Hospitality against Hunger in motion.
(RELATED: Walsh is one of our Chefs to Watch in 2016.)
He is collaborating with The Food Bank Singapore to raise funds that will go towards the operations of the non-profit organisation and the purchase of essential food items like oil and rice for the needy. The Ireland-born chef says: “I’ve noticed many elderly people in the Chinatown area walking around under the sun and collecting rubbish and cardboard boxes. “Being a chef, I work long hours and it’s hard for me to find time for charity outside of work. I wanted to find a way to give back to this community, so when I left Esquina to start Cure, I decided it would be a good time for me to do something.”
This explains the optional $1 surcharge he puts at the bottom of every bill, which he sees as a token sum to charge for the house-baked bread and snacks he serves. Every six months, he would tally up the amount raised and write a cheque to The Food Bank Singapore. He says: “If diners don’t wish to pay the extra dollar, I’ll put in the money myself.”
So far, though, he has yet to encounter a reluctant guest and will be making his first donation – he would only reveal that it is a five-figure sum – this month. He is also in the midst of planning a charity wine-pairing dinner, which took place on Dec 7. The menu will include crowd favourites such as chilled almond soup with vanilla snow and sour grapes, and roasted foie gras terrine with mini brioche buns. Neither he nor his staff will take wages for that night, so all proceeds will go to The Food Bank Singapore. “In future, I’m looking to work with guest chefs, like my mentor (Michelin-star chef ) Tom Aikens, for these charity dinners,” says Walsh.
“It’s not just about the money we raise; it’s about creating a sense of community for my chefs and other restaurants here in Keong Saik.”