5 SGLIFESTYLE QUESTIONS WITH co founders mad about sucre

BLURRING THE SUCRE AND SAVOURY LINES

Award-winning restaurant, patisserie and chocolaterie, Mad About Sucre, has relaunched with a whole new concept, evolving beyond just a dine-in restaurant with the launch of a brand new, e-commerce enabled website, which includes online exclusives. But what touched our hearts was how the owners of this modern establishment hired people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic to roll out their delivery services across the island, ensuring each food order gets to its customers in pristine condition. SG Lifestyle trawls deeper by speaking with founders James Tan and siblings Eric and Lena Chan.

SGLS: Tell us the rationale behind the name of your restaurant. Who came up with it and why?

MAS: We each came up with one word for the name of our restaurant.

Eric is a self-taught chef but he came from a marketing background, and always believed that things could go crazy and as far as one desires when they take flight. He contributed the word “Mad”, often seen as something associated with anger, but it can also be interpreted as love or lust.

Lena’s contribution was “Sucre”, which means sugar in French. She had always had a sweet tooth, and at the point when we were conceptualising the restaurant, she was in Paris and was influenced by her time at Le Cordon Bleu.

James, the level-headed one, believes we all need to strike a balance in everything we do and hence, contributed the word “About”.

Mad About Sucre Founders. L to R: ERIC CHAN, LENA CHAN AND JAMES TAN
Mad About Sucre Founders (L to R): Eric Chan, Lena Chan and James Tan

SGLS: There are three of you. So… who’s in charge? What are your dynamics? Or at least let us in on the division of labour?

MAS: Functionally, we each are in charge of a different part of the restaurant’s operations. Day to day operations are managed by Eric and James. Eric handles the kitchen operations and James handles the branding, finance and overall management of the restaurant.

Lena has since taken a step back and is putting greater focus on her family. But she continues to play a lead role in the desserts and pastries departments, conceptualising the repertoire of desserts and curating pastries and confectionaries on our menu.

Although we each have our own responsibilities and clearly defined roles, all major decisions are made as a team and we have always emphasised in the way we run our business that we are people-first. With the revamped restaurant and our online deliveries taking off, we have plans in the pipeline to expand the brand both locally and internationally and we want to make sure that we use this time to upgrade the skills of our staff and ensure that our team is strong and gets the support they need.

SGLS: Why the relaunch after half a decade?

MAS: Revamping the restaurant and the patisserie has been in the talks for some time, and ultimately it was because we as a brand have grown over the past five years – along with our customers. We have regular customers that have been with us since day one and Mad About Sucre in itself has become a regular meeting place for friends and family, and with everyone that walks through our doors, we want to get to know them a bit more and to build a connection with each customer. It was actually the conversations and memories formed with our customers that have influenced the new design and revamp. We wanted to curate an experience for our customers like no other.

The interior comprises 11 different colours, and this embodies the different experiences, moods, auras that have come through the restaurant, and celebrates the differences in everyone.

SGLS: Were you (at least one of you) trained in culinary arts? How did the three of you get into this industry? 

MAS: Eric is a self-taught chef. Lena was trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It was when she decided to return home to Singapore from Paris, that we decided to start something together. We wanted to create a space that would allow us to create memories and share our passion for cooking, baking and hosting with our loved ones.

SGLS: The local F&B scene took a beating during the Circuit Breaker period. Many businesses have shuttered since. How did you manage it?

MAS: We shut our doors on 15 February, before the announcement of the Circuit Breaker because this was when COVID-19 was getting more serious in Singapore and we wanted everyone to be home with their families during these times.

We were closed for three full months but during this time, we continued to pay each associate in full. We knew that this would not be the end of our journey, and we wanted to use this time to reflect on the past five years and what we wanted to accomplish for the next phase of our business.

When we eventually made the decision to launch our e-Commerce website, it took us four days to get everything ready. We wanted to give our customers a unique dining experience in the comfort of their homes, so each delivery is designed to be a box of happiness. Each box is sent with a QR code for each dish, to explain the ingredients used and how it all comes together to form the flavour profile.

Bonus Q: Which are your top three favourite dishes? Which are the “must-try” dishes for new patrons?

Eric’s favourite dish is the grilled cauliflower. It’s one of the best sellers at the restaurant for this season, and is even loved by customers who don’t fancy vegetables. It’s chockfull of flavour using natural ingredients.

Grilled Cauliflower, Miso, Almond, Gherkins Salsa
Grilled Cauliflower with Miso, Almond, Gherkins Salsa

A big fan of pork, James’s favourite would be the rib-eye of pasture-raised pork accompanied by grilled aged Haloumi cheese. The natural fragrance of the meat is beautiful, with no gaminess to the taste.

Ribeye of Pasture-Raised Pork, Grilled Aged Halloumi Cheese
Ribeye of Pasture-Raised Pork, Grilled Aged Halloumi Cheese

Lena’s favourite dish is the San Domingue, a dessert she holds close to her heart. Designed for her child, who can’t eat ice cream but loves it, the texture resembles the creamy consistency of everyone’s favourite treat. A classic combination of chocolate and banana in this dessert is sure to bring back sweet childhood memories.

San Domingue - Dark chocolate, Bananas, Chocolate, Rum, Brittany Crunch
San Domingue – Dark chocolate, Bananas, Chocolate, Rum, Brittany Crunch

Mad About Sucre is located at:
27 Teo Hong Rd, Singapore 088334
T: 6221 3969
madaboutsucre.com

Operating Hours:

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 12.30pm – 10pm
  • Sunday: 12.30pm – 5pm
  • Closed on Monday
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