If you’ve ever wondered about how much slow food we serve up real fast every day at Grain Traders, our executive chef Gisela gives us a sneak peek into what goes into and comes out of our kitchens. Here are some numbers, anecdotes, and things you never knew:

1/ What time does prep work start in the kitchen, and when does it end?

Prep starts at 7AM everyday for breakfast. At around 730AM our vegetable supplier arrives and we start with lunch prep. Our salmon and beef arrive in the afternoon, and everything is prepared (cleaned, marinated, etc) by around 5-6PM.

2/ How many kilograms of vegetables do you prepare each day?

Broccoli — 16kg
Pickled cucumber — 3kg
Beansprouts — 8kg
Roasted peppers — 7kg
Apple kimchi — 2kg
Salmon — 160 portions
Beef — 8kg
Tuna — 8 to 10 kg

3/ What’s the most number of bowls you’ve sold in one day?

Possibly500–600, at our CapitaGreen outlet

4/ The dishes that takes the longest time to prepare are:

Sous-vide and chargrilled salmon, slow-roasted pork, and curry sauce are the most delicate and take the most time to do.

The salmon needs to be cleaned, filleted, deboned, and portioned. It’s marinated for 60 minutes, then vacuum-packed and sous-vide. Before serving we have to clean the skin and grill the fish, and then we serve it with a donburi sauce.

The pork also needs to be cleaned, filleted, and cut. It’s marinated for 12 hours, and slow-cooked for 6-8 hours. After it’s done, the juice is separated from the meat, cooled down, and packed.

We make our curry fresh, and so we need to clean, peel, and blend all the ingredients, including lemongrass, galangal, ginger, turmeric, kaffir lime, shallots, garlic, and Thai basil. We continue the next day, in the early morning. We sauté a homemade chili paste, add the blended ingredients, cook for an hour, then add in coconut milk. The sauce then cooks for another 2 to 3 hours. The total cooking time would be between 4 to 5 hours, and then the curry is cooled down and packed.

5/ Biggest order we’ve ever received:

I don’t remember well, but we’ve done orders for 60-70 takeaway bowls. Sometimes we get separate orders and we’ve done more than 100 takeaways just before our lunch service.

6/ Most items someone has ordered in one bowl:

We had one takeaway order where we had to prepare 2 bowls per box. They had 3 grains, 2 extra proteins, 3 hot veggies, 3 cold veggies and 3 sauces per bowl.

7/ Grain Traders is all about #feedingpeopleright. How many people do you feed each day?

Between both outlets, we feed around 1000 people daily.

8/ Amount of grains we cook/prepare each day:

Brown Rice — 8kg
Sushi Rice — 5kg
Bulgur wheat — 3kg
Quinoa — 8kg (sometimes 11kg)
Soba noodles — 80 to 90 portions
Supergreens — 90 to 100 portions

9/ Favourite Grain Traders weekend/monthly special dish:

People loved the roasted cauliflower withcurry butter, and our sous-vide turkey breast for Christmas. 

10/ A dish I would love to see on the Grain Traders menu one day:

I would love to have big pieces of roaston the menu: a leg of pork, lamb, or a big roast beef that can be sliced in front of our diners. Also some big fish like seabass or grouper,  all in our counter. The problem, though, might be the additional time it would take to serve these foods because of the cutting process.  

11/ Best staff meal we’ve ever had:

There’re so many! It’s always a challenge to cook our meals because of the different religions and beliefs inside the kitchen. We always try to make a protein (chicken, most of the time), a vegetable dish, and of course, a grain. The person who has to cook the staff meal rotates daily, to create some variety. 

Zhang makes an amazing chicken rice; Devi makes amazing Indian food and her rendang is incredible; Gavin does a nice Neapolitan spaghetti with fish and roasted garlic; Joey always does potato wedges with lemon and thyme; Bryan does soups or curries; and once I made some fajitas that everybody loved. We’ve done pizza, some times more successful than others. I always joke that my speciality is Venezuelan-Chinese fried rice—everybody’s favourite!

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