Food for thought: Beppe De Vito
Chong Seow Wei and Dana Koh join Beppe De Vito and Lynn Yeow-De Vito at Beppe's favourite street food haunt and suss out why humble local fare hits the sweet spot.
It all started one day in 1981 when a nine-year-old Beppe De Vito decided he wanted to start working after school at the local cafes near his childhood home in Bitonto, a city located in the region of Puglia, Italy. He continued working through his youth, eventually sparking an enthusiasm in him to make a permanent career out of it. That career would later bring him across continents, from other parts of Europe to the US and Asia.
Almost two decades ago, the graduate of a top hospitality institution in Italy moved to Singapore to help launch Bice, an international Milanese restaurant brand. Beppe then went on to join the Garibaldi Group of Restaurants, but in 2006 left to set up his first solo establishment, ilLido Italian Dining and Lounge Bar at the scenic Sentosa Golf Club. He has opened three more concepts since then, with rooftop oyster bar Southbridge situated along Boat Quay being the most recent.
Through food, Beppe also found true love. He met wife Lynn Yeow-De Vito, an executive director at integrated communications agency The Ate Group, first as colleagues at the Garibaldi Group and they bonded over a shared passion for good food. The parents to four adorable sons love exploring local eats and experiencing unpretentious, “down-to-earth” food and service, as Beppe puts it.
I’m a firm believer that… the best foods and dishes come from the best ingredients, which cannot be determined based on how premium they are, but whether they are of the finest quality. It’s one thing I always emphasize—be it in my cooking, the food I send out from my restaurant kitchens or in the menus and recipes of all my restaurants.
Local street food is… unassuming, humble and friendly, which is what Singapore is at its core. It expresses the country’s culture and personality.
I frequently eat at… Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh Eating House. It’s one of the first local food spots I tried after moving here and was recommended by a few of my earlier local restaurant patrons. Today, it’s a comfort food stop I visit with the family every other week because they’re very good at what they do. Their food is consistently good—something you don’t find easily nowadays. It was also Lynn’s and my favourite supper place when we first started dating.
Other local haunts to try are… Ah Chiang Traditional Charcoal Porridge at Tiong Poh Road and Chao San Cuisine at Beach Road, which specialises in Teochew cuisine and is a favourite of Lynn’s.