Credits; Artist: Dieter Rosch. Peter Knipp Holdings
SCA Organizing Committee for WACS Congress 1990
MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
L-R: Andreas Stalder; Graham Cadman; Ernst Huber; Bernhard Weber; Otto Weibel; Franz Zettel; Alan Palmer
THE BIRTH of the Singapore Chefs' Association began, very simply, with a tough labour
A few chefs in Singapore had formed a group called Les Toques Blanches Singapore in 1982 with the intent of forging a culinary fraternity. In the same year, a German chef, Peter Knipp, represented Singapore at the World Culinary Contest in Osaka, Japan. Drawing on his years of experience working in Asian kitchens, this 'renegade' chef served up a competition dish starring black chicken. It was the first time the (wholly Caucasian) judging panel had seen this naturally black-skinned fowl, and the creation caused a huge stir. After much debate, Knipp beat 70 other contestants and triumphantly returned to Singapore with a gold medal. He was to become one of the founding members of the Singapore Chefs' Association and play a pivotal role in its growth.
The seeds for the SCA had in fact been sown a couple of years previously. During the last year of his presidential term, Auguste Guyet, the then-President of the World Association of Cooks Societies (WACS), met the Singapore team at the 1980 Food & Hotel Exhibition, and was impacted by their professionalism.
Guyet's successor, Hans Bueschkens, followed up with two journeys to the island shortly afterwards. Impressed by Singapore's culinary standards in 1982, he visited the country again in 1983, and eventually invited the members of Les Toques Blanches Singapore to join the worldwide organization. His intention: to share the quality of Singapore chefs' culinary skills with the rest of the world.
In the same year, Les Toques Blanches had planned for the finals of their international chef competition to be held in Singapore. At the last minute, the location was changed to Japan. In protest at this seeming lack of support, Les Toques Blanches member Peter Knipp made a statement withdrawing from the competition.
This key incident caused the other chefs from Les Toques Blanches' Singapore chapter to rethink their alliance with international chef fraternities. Were they to come under the WACS umbrella instead, they would be offered a plan, a direction and a network.
The answer was obvious: in 1984, the local chefs gladly accepted the invitation to be part of the global chef family. After all the labour pains, the Singapore Chefs' Association – the promising child – was born.
This story is an excerpt from a recent publication of the Singapore Chefs' Association.