My Selection: Could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
Fabien Duboueix: I was born in a very small village in France surrounded by Champagne vineyards but I first chose to work in the food and beverage industry to follow my passion for cooking. After travelling to different countries and taking on different roles in restaurants and hotels, I trained to become a sommelier. Because I know both food and wine, I always find this as a great advantage in knowing how to cook when you have to pair it with wine. I can read a menu and already have the flavor of the dish in mind.
MS: What does your job entail exactly?
FD: Being a sommelier in a 3 star Michelin Restaurant is not only about the wine knowledge. I am responsible for a large inventory of wines, choosing the right one to pair with our restaurant’s cuisine and suits our guests’ preferences, meeting with wine suppliers and updating the wine list. It also involves sharing my knowledge with my colleagues. Of course the most important part is being in the restaurant and communicate with my guests and to be sure they will have the experience they expect and deserve at Joël Robuchon Restaurant.
MS: How long have you been living in Singapore and what brought you here?
FD: I’ve been living in Singapore for more than 5 years. After spending 8 years in the USA, I wanted to relocate to Asia and I was considering between Singapore and Hong Kong. I found a job in Singapore first and never regretted moving here.
MS: With work done, how do you like spending your free time in the Lion City (Do you have any favorites areas or places where you spend your free time)?
FD: With the little free time I have, it would be to carry on progressing my wine knowledge. So whenever I have time, I would go to Praelum Wine Bistro at Duxton Hill for a blind tasting organized for me by one of the best sommeliers in Singapore. I also like this new place call Atlas, I think its gin selection and ambience are very unique.
MS: Singapore is famously a melting pot of cultures and, as a
result, also of multiple cuisines. What are your favorites?
FD: Since I often cook at home, I have yet to try all of Singapore’s local dishes, I need to discover more local flavors.
MS: Where do you like to have dinner in Singapore? Could you name your Top 3 picks among restaurants, bars & cafes in Singapore?
FD: When I go out, I like to go to Nicolas Le Restaurant for French food, and Bakalaki in Tiong Bahru for Greek cuisine. Not only is the food amazing and healthy but they also have a good wine selection. For me, Greek wines are really underrated. There are many high quality Greek wines which can be enjoyed at good value. When I’m at work, I like to go to Fratelli in Resorts World Sentosa, a nice Italian restaurant by Enrico and Roberto Cerea, owners of the Three Michelin-starred Da Vittorio in Lombardy.
Styled and shot by Bakalaki
MS: Selecting wine depends very much on the occasion. When do you like to drink wine? On its own / with a meal / alone / with company?
FD: I would feel that something is missing if I don’t have at least one glass of wine at dinner. I also enjoy drinking wine on my own when I am relaxing after work, and more importantly with friends since wines should be shared among people you like. Regarding selecting a wine, I don’t really have favorites, I don’t believe on uniqueness. I believe more on the moment. If I’m eating Spanish food I want Spanish wine, German food…
MS: Are there any wines that you particularly like and would recommend to our readers? Or maybe you have your favorite pairings with the food you mentioned before?
FD: Going back to Greek wines, one of my favorite grape is Assyrtiko from the Island of Santorini. Paris Sigalas is one of the top winemakers there and you can find oaked and unoaked versions.
Rhone valley is also a region which needs to be more in the spotlights. Try a good Cornas from Domaine du Tunnel made from Syrah, it tastes and smells like cracked black pepper which is what I really like in that grape.
When I order a diverse cheese plate, and if I could only choose one wine, I would go for an off-dry German-Riesling, which is perhaps the best compromise. So many of our guests want red wine with cheese, however after they tried the pairing, they would agree that it works better than red wine.