People 2 minutes 13 March 2019

5 Questions With Chef Massimo Pasquarelli On Organising SuperBrunch

The executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore shares about what goes into one of Singapore’s biggest brunch events.

5Qs brunch

From a 40-foot chiller cargo container filled with a plethora of seafood, a conveyor belt with revolving plated confections to a coconut leave-fringed wading pool where diners fish for their own desserts, imagination knows no bounds for Massimo Pasquarelli, executive chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore who spearheads the hotel’s annual epicurean extravaganza, SuperBrunch.
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Every year, the one-day event transforms the hotel’s lobby level, which usually comprises front and concierge desks and two eateries, into a sprawling brunch wonderland, resplendent with over-the-top food counters, wacky decorations and convivial performances.

This year, the 3 ½ hour brunch, which is on this Sunday, takes on the theme of Monopoly, the world-renowned property trading board game. Expect a life-sized floor decal of the hotel's version of the Monopoly board, live-sized game tokens like green houses and red hotels, soup stations fashioned like the Monopoly jail cell and rub shoulders with Mr Monopoly.

Save lots of stomach space for spectacular culinary highlights including 5J Iberico de Bellota ham, 100 types of international cheeses, a 45kg bluefin tuna carved onsite, 300kg of lobsters, 8kg of caviar and 2,000 freshly-shucked oysters spanned across 34 stations. Wash the food down with 500 bottles of champagne and tipples from four themed bars.

The mammoth operation, which took three months to plan, is run by 80 chefs and 100 waiters. Matching the scope of this gargantuan feast is its price tag, which starts from $298 per person. The hotel has also tied up with toy and boardgame giant Hasbro to create a customised version of Monopoly. About 400 guests are expected to attend this year’s SuperBrunch.

The mastermind of SuperBrunch, Pasquarelli shares more about pulling off one of Singapore’s marquee brunch events.
The oyster counter in a 40-foot chiller cargo container in SuperBrunch 2016. (Photo: The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore)
The oyster counter in a 40-foot chiller cargo container in SuperBrunch 2016. (Photo: The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore)
1. How did the idea of SuperBrunch come about?

The idea started in 2010 as Brunch 78 that was named after a 78-metre brunch spectacle that featured guest chefs. When I joined the team, I added my touch by conceiving themes and involving my entire culinary team in the hotel. It has become a fun platform for the staff to express their creativity: they carry out the concept, service flow and gimmick of each live station. This event has also boost staff morale over the years.

2. The themes for SuperBrunch changes every year. What is your favourite theme?

It is the carnival theme in 2014. The theme was centred around the concept of having fun in the circus. It was special to me as the event featured a folk music band from my hometown of Abruzzo in Italy.
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3. What is the biggest challenge of organising SuperBrunch?

It is coming up with a theme that appeals to diners and inspires me to create the entire story before I move on to stage the event, from food, design of the live stations and gimmicks used in the event. There is also huge coordination between food, service, housekeeping, engineering and public relations teams. At 11.30pm one day before the event, we will turn the lobby upside down to give guests a wow factor. After the event, the lobby level is reverted back to its original state within two hours so that normal operations can resume. It is an intense day for both diners and hotel staff to remember.

4. With so much food on display, how do you ensure they stay fresh during the event?

The food is usually ready by 11.45am before the event starts at noon. Some items such as the cheeses, will stay throughout the event, while the quantity of seafood and cooked dishes are closely monitored to reduce food wastage.

5. What is the most interesting thing that you’ve done for SuperBrunch?

It is arranging for a 40-foot large cargo container to be shipped into the hotel for the Voyage-themed event in 2016. The chiller container, which was as cold as minus 15 degree Celsius, had ice blocks that served 12 varieties of oyster. The chefs had to put on jackets before they enter the container. I wanted to give diners a sense of how produce is transported here.


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