At Plentyfull, a casual restaurant, gourmet grocer and patisserie at Millenia Walk, executive chef Victor Loy loves nothing more than to serve up wholesome, delicious food.

At lunchtime, he fills your bowl with healthy carbs such as broken wheat or risoni and tops it up with proteins and sides. In the evenings, his a la carte menu proffers a range of starters, pastas, seafood, meats and sides made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Interior of Plentyfull

Interior of Plentyfull

The 32-year-old father of one helped out at his grandma’s hawker stall in Penang as a young boy. From his late teens, he started working in the kitchens of various restaurants in Malaysia and Europe. In 2006, he completed a culinary course from the International Management Institute in Switzerland specialising in French cooking. Thereafter, he jumped at the opportunity to work at the former Harbour Grill at Hilton Hotel Singapore. There, he was mentored by chef Julien Jouhannaud, who trained under French chef Alain Ducasse. After three years, Loy moved on to other establishments before joining Plentyfull as its chef in late 2016.

We try our best to cook and serve food honestly. As much as possible, we prepare our dishes from scratch, so we know the exact ingredients that go into each dish. We also make it a point not to use preservatives, and genetically modified or processed food. Eating well can be tasty too. We see Plentyfull as a place of restoration, providing satisfying, wholesome food inspired by our team’s different cultures, heritage and travels.

One of chef Loy's dishes, Thai roasted chicken with garlic and cilantro

One of chef Loy’s dishes, Thai roasted chicken with garlic and cilantro

Some of the dishes our diners keep coming back for include the pan-fried barramundi with yuzukosho (a Japanese paste made with chilli, yuzu and salt) dashi, the Moorish lamb ribs, the pumpkin gnocchi with brown butter and sage emulsion, and the homemade flatbread with nori butter.

Plentyfull’s Stacked Fries, by far, is the most laborious dish to make from scratch. We peel the potatoes, shave them into paper-thin layers, then compose them into a stack with herbs and spices. Next, we steam and compress them overnight. Finally, we hand-cut and fry them. For a batch of 20-30 potatoes, the whole process takes approximately four hours to assemble and cook, and we must rest them overnight. But we wouldn’t have it any other way because we want every staff in the restaurant to know the importance of respecting ingredients and the effort that goes into every dish that we serve. We hope our diners will feel the love too when they taste it.

Grilled Kin Yan farm mushrooms, a dish at Plentyfull

Grilled Kin Yan farm mushrooms, a dish at Plentyfull

Bacon makes everything taste good, but we think it’s even better when you make your own. We make our own bacon with free-range pork belly. We clean and brine them with lots of aromatics such as juniper berries, maple, sage and peppercorn. Then we smoke them with apple wood chips for at least six hours and finish off by compressing the bacon back in vacuum to lock in all the flavours. Earlier this year, I made a bacon ice cream, topped with bacon marmalade, on a fluffy pancake with bacon drippings folded into it!

We are refreshing our menu in 2018. It will be more geographically focused, concentrating on regions like South America and Australia where much of our produce come from, such as Argentinian beef and Australian Borrowdale free-range pork. We hope this makes it interesting for our diners.

We will continue to use the best ingredients in season. For the coming quarter, I am looking forward to using ingredients such as rutabagas (or swede), radishes, and winter squashes. Hopefully by this time, we will have some awesome early spring vegetables such as savoy cabbages from Europe.

A dedicated counter to desserts at Plentyfull

A dedicated counter to desserts at Plentyfull

We are proud that we have diners coming back to buy the sauces and products we use in our dishes such as homemade sambal belachan, Thai chilli jam, homemade bacon, smoked mussels, Asian-inspired chimichurri and chicharrones.

My all-time food hero and inspiration is Alain Ducasse. I had the chance to meet him when I staged briefly at two of his restaurants in Monte Carlo back in 2005. I admire the way he combines Mediterranean ingredients with French cooking techniques. Ducasse inspires me to cook with the philosophy that cooking is 60 per cent about ingredients, and 40 per cent about technique. You can definitely mess up a good ingredient if you are not careful. Conversely, a bad ingredient can totally affect your dishes.

At home, I prepare fresh, simple fare and am mindful about where my ingredients come from. I would make both European and Asian dishes. It could be a pesto pasta with chilli flakes topped with burrata, for instance, or a grape, walnut and parsley salad. If I am doing something Asian, it could be chicken rice or even Hainanese lamb stew and poached greens

This was first published in Wine & Dine’s Jan/Feb 2018 issue – Embracing Clean & Green, ‘Chef Du Jour’

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