Foodie Confidential

Foodpanda's MD Luc Andreani heads for Swee Choon Tim Sum for late suppers

Luc Andreani found fried oyster omelette very strange as the French do not fry their oysters, they eat them raw.
Luc Andreani found fried oyster omelette very strange as the French do not fry their oysters, they eat them raw. ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

Luc Andreani held several jobs before becoming Foodpanda Singapore's managing director

He is just 28, but Frenchman Luc Andreani has had a very varied career.

The managing director of food delivery service Foodpanda Singapore has worked across a spectrum of organisations from the United Nations to power production companies and has done work such as consulting and political campaigning.

He says: "I wanted to try different things to see what I really wanted to do in life."

The bachelor was born in the French city of Lyon. His father, 58, owns a car dealership and his mother, 57, is a photographer. His younger sister, 26, is a dentist.

After graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, he pursued a master's in finance and corporate strategy at the same institution.

Midway through, he took a break from his studies and worked with the United Nations for about a year, first dealing with anti-narcotics issues and then moving on to nuclear safety and security matters.

After completing his master's in 2013, he dabbled in consulting and worked at a power generation company during the day. By night, he did political campaigning.

  • WHAT WOULD YOUR LAST MEAL BE?


    Something simple. I would like, to go back to my roots and have one of my grandmother’s homemade fruit pies, made with wild berries picked from the Alsace region. It reminds me of family and home.

But even with his finger in so many pies, he was not satisfied. "Somehow, none of these roles convinced me that this was what I was meant to do."

He then worked at the French embassy in Chile for eight months. It was there that he received an offer for a managerial position at Asian online shopping portal Lazada.

He decided to give it a shot. Even though he had zero background in e-commerce, he found the work greatly fulfilling.

"I loved the pressure that comes with working in a start-up," he says.

At the end of last year, Foodpanda Singapore came knocking with the managing director offer. But he was doing well in Lazada and had climbed to the position of senior vice-president. "I was not looking for a job. I did not want to leave," he says.

But he eventually took up the offer and joined the company at the beginning of this year.

He was impressed by its achievements and felt inspired by the challenge to lead the team towards achieving its targets this year, such as doubling the order volume.

And he is enjoying himself so far. "I love the intensity. I love intense environments," he says.

What are some of your childhood memories of food?

I was born in Lyon but grew up in the countryside of Alsace, a beautiful region that borders Germany and Switzerland. My house had a large garden and was surrounded by farms. I remember drinking milk and eating eggs every morning that were freshly produced by the cows and laid by the hens from our neighbours' farms. It was a bit of a bucolic paradise.

Who has influenced your food preferences?

My mother and my grandmother. Both make absolutely delicious jams and pies with whatever fruit is in season, from currants to mulberries.

My grandmother also enjoys cooking traditional Alsatian dishes, which are an interesting mix of French and German cuisine. She makes all kinds of sausages and spaetzle with rabbit, deer or boar stew. The game is sometimes supplied by an uncle who still hunts with a bow.

 

Considering what you are used to eating, was there any Singapore dish that you were taken aback by?

To a Frenchman like me, fried oyster omelette is a very strange concept. We never cook, much less fry oysters. In our opinion, they are ideally eaten raw.

But I had an oyster omelette for the first time in my life here at the 89.7 Supper Club coffee shop in Paya Lebar and it was quite amazing.

Do you frequent any hawker centres here?

Yes. I often head to East Coast Lagoon Food Village for Cheok Kee Duck Rice and Haron Satay, and Old Airport Road Food Centre for Wang Wang Crispy Curry Puff and Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow.

Where are your go-to dining places for weekend brunch here?

I head to Carvers & Co in East Coast Road if I want a nice Western breakfast or Brawn & Brains at Guillemard Road for its molten eggs with a side of avocado - it is very good.

If you have to work late, where is your supper haunt?

Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant in Jalan Besar for some late night har kow (prawn dumpling), siew mai and steamed salted egg yolk custard bun.

What is one unforgettable overseas dining establishment you have eaten at?

There's a pizzeria in Ho Chi Minh City that I absolutely love. It's called Pizza 4P's and what you get is amazing Italian food by a Japanese chef based in Vietnam.

They have an incredible pizza that comes topped with prosciutto, arugula and a ball of fresh burrata, which is made in Vietnam.

The waiters cut open the burrata when the dish is served to you and the cheese melts all over the pizza.

That pizza alone is worth a trip to Ho Chi Minh City.

What is a recent food discovery that you have made?

I travelled to northern Thailand about half a year ago and discovered khao soi - an egg noodle, curry-based soup.

It was so tasty. I'd never had anything like it before.

Is there any food show you watch regularly?

I recently started watching Chef's Table, a documentary series on Netflix, and I highly recommend it.

I was mesmerised by the episode on American chef Dan Barber, who owns the acclaimed Blue Hill Restaurant at Stone Barns in New York City. He is constantly attempting to marry high-quality, organic products with high gastronomy.

What is the best dining experience you've had?

My family used to go once a year to Albert 1er, a two-Michelin starred restaurant in Chamonix, France. Each of our meals there, which could last for up to five hours, was the highlight of our annual family winter holiday.

I vividly remember having an excellent slab of venison in this restaurant. The meat was placed atop a bed of pine needles and served with coal. The meat ended up being smoked and infused with the scent of pine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 16, 2017, with the headline 'Feeding a need for variety'. Print Edition | Subscribe