Interview with Sebastien Le Goff: Part 4

Part 4: Le Goff Returns to Singapore. The reprise of a 2010 magazine interview (in five parts) with one of my favourite people, sommelier Sebastien Le Goff.

Le Goff was inducted into BC’s Restaurant Hall of Fame in 2012 and is currently the Service Coordinator for Cactus Club.

Brix: After several years in Toronto and Vancouver, how is it that you returned to Singapore to open DB Bistro Moderne?

SLG: I had met Brett Traussi their chief operating officer during my time at Lumière and he always kept in touch. One night in Uva around the Vancouver Olympics he goes—we are opening three restaurants in the next six months: London, Singapore and Miami.

I’m like—wow! Singapore. I used to live there.  He goes—really?  I tell him the story and he goes—would you go back? And I’m like—well, uh, are you hiring? And he goes—yup.

They flew me to New York and it was the two most intense days of my career. Someone puts you in a situation and asks what you would do. Asks about finance, about staff, tries to get a sense of what kind of person you are on the floor, what kind of manager you are. Can you actually read a spreadsheet? Can you understand profit and loss analysis? And it’s not just one person, but like six people every day with very different styles. I’d never been put through that before: interview after interview, meeting after meeting in a short period of time.

Brix: What are the current challenges with the operation in Singapore?

SLG: We were supposed to open in June and we hit the ground running. That got delayed for some construction issue and I was sent to help out between managers in Beijing for six weeks. Now I’m looking at opening in early November which means all the ordering of glassware, cutlery, linen, wine, everything.  Also, here the economy is booming and there is almost no unemployment. I’m 50% staffed, but I’ve got a month to find another twenty-three candidates. Putting the team together is always the most challenging. Always. But in an economy where everyone has a job already it’s a little trickier. You have to offer something special for people to switch.

Brix: Which is?

SLG: Chef Stephane Istel and the food are very good. It’s a very professional environment. We will definitely add value to the people who join us. Also, the company really believes in promoting from within. If you are serious about this career, it’s a very good company to join.

 Author’s note:

Le Goff left Singapore and Boulud’s Bistro Moderne in July 2011 and returned to Vancouver.

 This interview first appeared in

Brix: Where people, wine and travel mix (Volume 4, 2010)

To read the entire interview click here: LE GOFF 4 TWOW.

Photo used with Permission of Claudette Carracedo.


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