My Selection: Could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
Stéphanie Rigourd: I’m Stéphanie, just turned 30 but don’t repeat it loud. I’m French from the Rhone Valley, Syrah flow in my blood. I am the Wine Director of Raffles Hotel Singapore since September 2015, I used to work for 6 years for Hilton Singapore and some other hotels of the group. Before that I worked in France in several Michelin starred restaurant. Wine is my passion since I am really little, I studied wine in the sommelier school of l’Hermitage for 2 years where I graduated as a sommelier in 2007. If I wouldn’t be sommelier I would be wine maker. I love wine making and every now and then I work in wineries for the vintage and to get my hands dirty.
MS: What does your job entail exactly?
SR: I am taking care of a team of sommeliers, running the operations in the different F&B outlets of the hotel are our priorities. I spend a lot of time on giving wine trainings too; I am really concern about my somm, I wish to make them the best. Since I became a wine director, I am involved in “numbers” which was not the case before. The Finance part was really a part missing in my experience before. I am now ardent of reports, P&L, revenue analysis. Managing the costs and explaining the wine revenues results is one of my responsibilities. With the wine team we are also focus on wine events, I give wine classes “The Wine Apprentice” where I like to teach wine to our guests on a different manner than the “traditional one”, meaning “fun” and “relax”, I am strongly against the snobbish part of wine. We give wine picnic, wine hunting, blind tasting and many others fun unusual wine events every month.
MS: How long have you been living in Singapore and what brought you here?
SR: I landed in Singapore for the first time on July 14th, 2009, it was my first flight ever, I barely knew where Singapore was on a map and I couldn’t speak a word of English. A gentleman who became one of the key mentors in my career brought me in Singapore after meeting me on my working place in France.
I tried my luck and so far I have been very lucky.
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)?
SR: I am a big fan of Mr. Pang and its restaurant “New Ubin Sea Food”. A various local cuisine where Mr. Pang and his team give a fantastic service, I Iove them so much. For me a good place to eat is where there is a soul and most importantly people that recognized you and make you feel at ease.
Otherwise I like Xavier and its restaurant “Breton”, he makes the best “Gratin Dauphinois” in town. For big occasions, I would go to Odette where I had several times the best culinary experience of my life, Julien and his team are magicians.
MS: Singapore is famously a melting pot of cultures and, as a
result, also of multiple cuisines. What are your favorites?
SR: It’s such a difficult question; it’s like asking me to choose between my sister or my brother! I love eating…
My choice of food goes with my mood! On Sundays I like to go often to Race Course Road at Gayatri for a great mutton biryani with a lot of Raita. Sometimes I go for Thai or for the others restaurants mentioned above. As long as the food is good and the atmosphere is there I am happy.
MS: Where do you like to have dinner in Singapore? Could you name your Top 3 picks among restaurants, bars & cafes in Singapore?
SR: I said it above but I would add Wine Universe for the best cheese fondue in town and an excellent service, especially with Geoffrey the French Manager.
Styled and shot by Odette Restaurant
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?
SR: I don’t drink on week days, because I temp to drink too much on weekends, it’s important to balance it and really be careful. It must be with love ones or great friends and never with wine snobbish that are talking rubbish. Wine should never be drunk alone; it’s definitely a must to share. I will have it for aperitif and during a meal too. A meal without wine is call “breakfast”, unless it’s a week day.
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?
SR: I love wines which are well born not well made, and from friendly / adorable wine makers, I don’t drink wine from arrogant winemakers. I pick wines straight from my wine travels around the world; I have so many of them that I wish to advice. Since I’m just back from South-Africa where I spent 3 weeks on my own and visited 64 wineries, my heart is still there so I will recommend the wines from Alex Dale “The winery of good hope”(Stellenbosch) – its Chardonnay for the aperitif, the Chenin Blanc Radford Dale for the fish (A rich fish such as salmon with a creamy sauce), and its Pinotage for a piece of beef (with the gratin of Xavier of course!). This wine gave me tears last time I drunk it.
Otherwise I love a rich mushrooms risotto with a Corton Charlemagne from Rapet, the sharpness of this wine brings an amazing volume to the dish, I could die for it.