No-go for Bourdain's Singapore food project

Anthony Bourdain (right), with Bourdain Market’s former chief executive Stephen Werther (left), on Pier 57, where they had planned to open the food hall.
Anthony Bourdain (right), with Bourdain Market’s former chief executive Stephen Werther (left), on Pier 57, where they had planned to open the food hall. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Plans to open a Singapore-style hawker food hall in Manhattan cease for now as celebrity chef faces uphill task

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain's ambitious project of opening a Singapore-style hawker food hall on the far west of Manhattan has been canned.

Some two years after he announced that the Bourdain Market would open on New York's Pier 57, he revealed on Dec 22 that he had yet to sign an official lease with the developers.

"Launching what is admittedly a very ambitious venture has proven to be challenging at every turn," he said in a statement to food website Eater New York. "It seems increasingly clear that in spite of my best efforts, the stars may not align at Pier 57, which is an especially complicated site for which we still do not have a lease," he added.

Bourdain, 61, first talked about his dreams of opening the international food market about five years ago. He has been looking for sites since then.

The 155,000 sq ft market was touted as one of the most highly anticipated openings of the next decade.

Bourdain had previously posted sneaks of his menu wishlist online.

Some dishes included Hainanese chicken rice from Singapore, spicy noodle soup from Malaysia and roast goose from Hong Kong, reported The Daily Meal website.

The market was originally scheduled to open this year, but the date was pushed back last year to 2019.

However, the project ran into multiple delays and there were difficulties in obtaining visas for the market's employees and vendors.

Earlier this year,the market also lost its chief executive Stephen Werther.

Hudson River Park Trust, which manages the pier, declined to comment in the Eater report.

Developer RXR Realty said in the report that the pier remains on track to open and that it is "in advanced discussions with a number of exciting retail and dining partners".

The pier's other developer - YoungWoo and Associates - did not immediately respond to Eater's request for comment.

Not all is doom and gloom, however. Bourdain said he still hopes to pursue the project at a different location in New York City.

"I promised a certain kind of market to New Yorkers and to potential vendors and if that vision becomes clouded, diluted or compromised, it is no longer something that our city needs," he added.

"I remain hopeful that New York will some day have such a market - still passionately wish to create this resource that New Yorkers deserve."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'No-go for Bourdain's Singapore food project'. Print Edition | Subscribe