The words, “I Want Mam Mam!”, usually punctuated with an exclamation mark, can be heard daily in most Singaporean homes with babies and toddlers. It means “I want FOOD!” in tiny tot lingo. So when we first heard of this latest kid in the F&B scene, we had to reach out to MAM MAM’s Culinary Director, Sebastian Ng, for a tête-à-tête. The 45-year-old award-winning chef, who is also Chef-Owner of Venue By Sebastian at Downtown Gallery, was previously Chef-Partner of the highly acclaimed Restaurant Ember from 2002-2014. His culinary training includes stints at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London, Hotel de Mikuni in Tokyo, and La Credenza in Turin, Italy.
SGLS: Your name is synonymous with upmarket cuisine. Why is MAM MAM serving such a different repertoire of food?
Sebastian: Asian food is my first love, especially local Singaporean dishes. Two years ago, my business partners and I felt there was a gap in the market for high-quality yet value-for-money “everyday” local Singapore-style food. We also wanted a concept that could easily scale and expand. Given my professional background in fine-dining establishments, I felt a desire to serve my own interpretation of some of our favourite local dishes and introduce new dishes that incorporate regional Southeast-Asian influences.
SGLS: MAM MAM is an adorable name. Who first thought of the name and why?
Sebastian: My business partner’s wife came up with it, as it is an expression that many Singaporeans are familiar with – it’s the local term for “eat” that we often use with young children. The two words, “Mam Mam”, are a unique representation of Singaporeans’ love for food, transcending age, race and religion. Most of all, we loved that it was catchy and playful.
SGLS: How did you get into the F&B industry? What keeps you going? What are your plans moving forward?
Sebastian: I’d always enjoyed cooking since I was young and I dreamed of becoming a chef one day. So at the age of 15, I decided to make my passion my career. I dedicate most of my days researching, tasting and fine-tuning recipes. And I love it! What gets me up on my feet, raring to seize the day, is seeing my patrons enjoying the dishes that my team and I made. In terms of business plans, we are focused on ramping up the momentum for MAM MAM’s home delivery, and we are planning to open a kiosk in the Central Business District (CBD) at some point next year.
SGLS: You have three adorable daughters. Has any one of them shown interest and talent in culinary art?
Sebastian: None of them has shown interest yet but my eldest always cooks her younger sisters breakfast when my wife and I have to run errands on Sunday mornings. Of the three, my middle child has demonstrated potential as she has a sharp palate: she is able to identify some of the ingredients or spices in the dishes that I make.
SGLS: Which are the top 3 “die die must try” dishes at MAM MAM?
Sebastian: My favourite “die die must try” MAM MAM dishes are our Signature Spiced-Crusted Chicken Leg (S$9.90), Signature Minced Chicken with Basil and Egg Tofu (S$7.90) and Signature Asian-Style Duck Leg Confit (S$14.90).
Bonus Q: What would your last meal be?
Sebastian: My mum’s dishes for sure as I am very close to her. I love her Spicy Petai with Assam & Ikan Bilis (anchovies) as well as her Braised Sea Cucumber with Chinese Mushrooms.
MAM MAM will be offering a 10% discount for SG Lifestyle readers. This offer is valid ONLY for delivery orders made through Oddle: https://mammam.oddle.me/en_SG/. It ends on Monday, 16 November 2020. Check out MAM MAM’s MENU!
Discount Code: mammamsglifestyle
MAM MAM is located at:
1E Kent Ridge Road
NUHS Tower Block, Level One
- Dine-in: Mon to Fri, 7am to 4pm (Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, access to NUHS is currently limited only to staff)
- Deliveries: Mon to Sat, 11am to 2.30pm & 5pm to 7.30pm (these are the delivery times)
- Closed on Sundays and public holidays