ST Singaporean of the Year to be named today

Finalists of The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2016.
Finalists of The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2016.PHOTOS: SINGAPORE GENERAL HOSPITAL, THE NEW PAPER, COURTESY OF DR CHEW KHONG YIK, ST FILE
Mr Teo, who led a team to clinch a historic win for Singapore at the Culinary Olympics in Germany last October, is preparing dishes like laksa and satay for the 12 Singaporean of the Year award finalists at today's ceremony.
Mr Teo, who led a team to clinch a historic win for Singapore at the Culinary Olympics in Germany last October, is preparing dishes like laksa and satay for the 12 Singaporean of the Year award finalists at today's ceremony.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Executive chef Teo Yeow Siang has cooked for royalty, including Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Britain's Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II.

But the 40-year-old chef from catering company Lavish Dine Catering said it gives him "even greater pleasure" to prepare local dishes like laksa and satay for the 12 finalists of The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2016 award.

The winner will be announced today at an award ceremony attended by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Mr Teo, who led a team of six to clinch a historic victory for Singapore at the Culinary Olympics in Germany last October, said: "This is a form of recognition for all Singaporeans who have worked tirelessly to put Singapore on the world map and to those who have improved the lives of the less fortunate."

Among the finalists are Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling and his parents May and Colin Schooling, as well as Mr John Shu, a mechanic who gave $6,000 to a single mother to pursue her education.

Mr Teo recalled how his Culinary Olympics team paused in the middle of training to witness Schooling's historic gold medal victory last August, and how that spurred them on. "I was inspired... Seeing him win on the world stage made me determined to win as well."

Those at the ceremony will enjoy dishes with a local spin. In addition to durian mousse cake and pandan cake, they will be served nasi lemak with sea bass from a local farm in the south of Singapore, said Mr Teo.

The ceremony follows a public vote and deliberation by a panel of judges to decide on the award recipient among the 12 candidates, or groups, shortlisted last year.

The award, supported by bank UBS Singapore, seeks to recognise Singaporeans who have put the country on the world map, persevered through great adversity or made Singapore a better place through selfless acts.

The ceremony will be held this afternoon at the UBS Business University Asia Pacific, formerly the Command House, a national monument near Adam Road.

 
 
 

Mr Tharman will present to the Singaporean of the Year a cash prize of $20,000 and a trophy. The other 11 groups of finalists will each receive $5,000 from sponsor UBS.

The public vote was taken into consideration by a panel of 15 judges, including editors and writers from The Straits Times, as well as figures such as social entrepreneur Saleemah Ismail, Lim Hoon Foundation chairman John Lim and Mr Aaron Maniam, founding chairman of the National Youth Council Academy's advisory panel.

Saleswoman Noriza A. Mansor, 51, who took home the award last year, will be meeting this year's finalists at the event. She won hearts when she helped an elderly man who had soiled himself in public.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2017, with the headline 'ST S'porean of the Year to be named today'. Print Edition | Subscribe