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· BURPPLE

Inside Scoop: Otto's Deli Fresh

Head chef Rick Chow of Otto's Deli Fresh talks all things food, including his penchant for meat offcuts and the burger tower of his dreams.

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Photo by Burppler Keropok Man

1. Hi Chef Rick! Tell us about yourself — how did you get into cooking, and how did your journey lead you to where you are now?
My interest in food started since I was really young. I raised by my grandma who spent most of her precious time preparing hearty meals to make sure we eat proper meals daily. My interest developed from observing my grandma’s “daily routine”. Other than that, Western cooking shows such as Hell’s Kitchen and Chef in Black had my passion blooming. I used to spend a lot of time watching many celebrity chef cooking shows! It was then that I made up my mind that I wanted to be a cook when I grew up. I followed my dream by enrolling in culinary school right after I graduated from my secondary school. Step by step, it got me to where I am today.

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2. Please share with us the main difference between Otto’s Deli Fresh and Otto Ristorante.
ODF is a deli that serves comfort food at reasonable prices, and offers a relaxed, casual dining experience. On the other hand, Otto Ristorante is a semi fine-dining restaurant that uses premium ingredients, and the meal comes at a higher price point.

3. Who and/or what are your cooking inspirations?
Chef Otto Weibel (owner of Otto Ristorante and Otto’s Deli Fresh) is a person who really inspires me. He always educates young chefs like me to think like consumers when it comes to food, and to deliver quality at the best price. He also reinforces that we must prepare our food with pride.

4. We’re sure produce plays a large role when you were creating the menu here. What are some of your favourite ingredients to cook with, and why?
My favourite ingredients are off cuts, or secondary cuts of meat. These cuts are affordable and test a chef’s creativity and experience to unlock its full potential. For me, premium ingredients are good as they are; they don’t require as much work to be done. I love the sense of achievement when guests enjoy how I prepare meat cuts that not many chefs here are familiar with preparing.

5. How often do you guys update the menu, and are there any recent new creations you’ll like to tell us about?
We update  our menu once every half a year. At ODF we appreciate ideas and opinions from the staff, and we create dishes after consolidating these ideas along with guest feedback. We recently came up with our version of duck confit. We brine the duck leg in spices for 12 hours, and then sous vide it for 12 hours to result in really tender meat that’s packed with flavour. We serve it with creamy mashed potato and a peach and white wine sauce to cut through the richness.

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Photo by Burppler Peter Wong

6. Tell us more about the clientele — do you get many regulars from the neighbourhood popping by, and are there any interesting customer stories you’ll like to share?
We have a lot of white collars working around the area who always comes back for our value for money yet packed with quality set lunches. They often hold staff and birthday parties here as we are super flexible with customising menus. Besides that, we also see many guests staying around the neighbourhood who come back for their favourite dishes like our signature beef stroganoff pasta and kurobuta pork rack. We see them so often — some dine here three to four times a week — that our service staff knows their preferences by heart.

7. How would you like customers to feel dining at the deli?
As a restaurant located in a neighbourhood area, I would like my customers to feel comfortable and relaxed when they are dining with us, and to feel the warm welcome from our friendly team every time they come back.

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Photo by Burppler Irene Arieputri

8. The Valrhona Hot Chocolate is a big favourite among the Burpple community. What’s the secret and what sets it apart from regular hot chocolates?
The main thing that sets our hot chocolate apart from others is the chocolate we use — Valrhona 64% dark chocolate for richness and Valrhona chocolate pearls to garnish for crunch. We also top our hot chocolate with Madagascar vanilla bean infused whipped cream to make the drink extra smooth and rich.

9. Is there one dish you really want to put on the menu, but are concerned it may be a tad too unconventional or wacky?
I am a huge fan of burgers, and I have always wanted to serve a super tall tower-like burger using premium ingredients such as foie gras. What holds me back is the cost. It will be really expensive and I’m not sure people would be willing to spend on it. Also, it would likely be really messy to eat such a tall burger!

10. What’s next for you, as well as for Otto’s Deli Fresh?
The next for myself and ODF would be to create a more interesting variety of desserts. For me, dessert is something really important — I liken it to the full stop at the end of a perfect and memorable meal.


Read what the community says about Otto’s Deli Fresh here!