While some people take a lifetime to discover their passion, chef David Senia knew at an early age that he wanted to become a chef. Over two decades in the business, and you’ll still see him happily working in the kitchen, joking with his staff and guests, and crafting delicious recipes that always make us go back to The Knolls and Cassia. But where does he go to when in need of a dose of creativity?
When I am in need of inspiration, I go to… Nice, my hometown in the South of France. I always look forward to going home because of my family and of course, the vibrant food scene in the market or fine dining restaurant.
All ingredients are locally sourced, like mushrooms you can pick from the surrounding mountains or fish you can obtain from the sea. The stunning natural greenery—which the city is renowned for—also enhances the overall experience.
The restaurant I always visit is... La Merenda which serves traditional Provencal cuisine. The dishes remind me of my childhood when my mum would pick fresh herbs from the garden and cook them on a “piano”, a French term for stove. It evokes a happy feeling when I smell the familiar scent of garlic and basil.
The dishes… not only feed my belly, but encourage me to craft original creations inspired by my mum’s delicious recipes and meticulous preparation methods. My recent inspiration was her sautéed prawns, where I used her process of deglazing to capture the juices from the prawns into the sauce.
My holiday is never complete without… pissaladière, a French onion tart with a perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness. The last time I visited Nice, I woke up at 5am to visit the fish market just to have this. It was just warm and comforting.
I complete my trip with petits farcis niçois, a Provencal stuffed veggie dish. These dishes of my childhood inspired me to cook.
When travelling to a new place, my advise is… to explore with the locals. They know the place better than anyone and can bring you to the hole-in-the-wall eateries that are worth discovering.
The next country on my bucket list is… New Zealand as I haven’t been there. The scenery is breathtaking and the produce is amazing.
Photos: Capella Hotel Singapore
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