This month, we’ve got the low down from Lucha Loco’s Head Chef – Señor Mathew Woon (aka Matt). Find out how Mexican cuisine has inspired Chef Matt, his passion for Mexican food and his taste bud tips for dining in Singapore. Chef Matt, originally from Kuching, Sarawak Malaysia, has been with The Loco Group since the beginning in 2012 and here’s our 5 minutes with him:
★ Tell us about your experience
◊ I started my apprenticeship in Melbourne, Australia after finishing high school there. After a few years in the industry I eventually found my way to Pearl, Richmond, where I met my mentor Geoff Lindsay (Saigon Street, Bali and Dandelion, in Melbourne). I learnt so much from Geoff, he showed me what can be done with Asian flavours and how versatile they are.
When I finished at Pearl, I came home to Singapore and landed a job with Lucha Loco. I’ve been with Lucha Loco for 4 years, of which I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring, learning and working with the group!
★ Why do you like cooking Mexican food?
◊ Because of its simple flavours and the chillies. As a chilli lover the amount of different chillies that you can get is an eye opener. They can be used for so many dishes and in so many different ways.
★ Your favourite taco dish at Lucha Loco
◊ Carnitas Taco aka, Pork Belly taco because it has everything that I love: juicy pork belly (which we slow cook for 12 hours), balanced with light and crispy, yet spicy, jicama salsa.
It gives my taste buds a good workout!
★ Craziest taco you’ve ever made?
◊ We were playing around in the kitchen, when one day we decided to take a taco with all its fillings, battered it up and then (dramatic pause) we fried it!
What came out was one of the greasiest tacos you could ever eat!
★ Tell us your favourite dish in Singapore!
◊ I have too many to narrow it down to just one! I think I can get it down to my Top 6:
- Bak Ku Teh, from a small old coffee shop in Thomson
- Lor Mee, Amoy Street Hawker Centre
- Chicken Rice, Nam Kee Chicken Rice
- Kl Hokkien Mee, Keng Eng Kee
- Fish Steamboat, Nan Hwa Chong
- Mee Soto, Adam rd Hawker Centre
★ Tequila or Mezcal?
◊ Tequila. I prefer the clean crisp taste!
★ Who is your favourite chef?
◊ My late grandmother, she always had plenty great food to eat in her kitchen and she made the best Bak Chang that I miss to this day.
★ Best meals you have ever eaten?
◊ Restaurant Andre’s, Singapore
◊ Movida, Melbourne Australia
◊ Pho, from the streets of Hanoi
◊ Beef noodles at the old market in Kuching’s city centre, Sarawak, Malaysia
◊ Somtam Nua at Soi Siam Square 5 in Bangkok
★ Last meal you cooked at home?
◊ I recently cooked a soy and pear braised beef brisket with rolled rice noodle and hot mint salad for my wife!
There you go!