Simply The Bess: Greg Bess of CUT by Wolfgang Puck Singapore

CUT & Spago_Executive Chef Greg Bess | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

CUT by Wolfgang Puck at Marina Bay Sands Singapore is the only steak restaurant to have a Michelin Star, a modern American steakhouse headed by Greg Bess, known for its impeccable cuisine and service. While some may be very familiar with their specialised beef, from their take on the lobster and prawn cocktail to their wagyu tasting plate of Australian, Japanese and American, we speak to Executive Chef Greg Bess to find out more.

Chef Wolfgang Puck_1 | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

Can you tell us a bit about your about yourself and CUT by Wolfgang Puck?

I started my first job about 20 years ago in Beverly Hills and it was my last job out of culinary school. I did six years in Beverly Hills and then they asked me to be part of the opening team of CUT in Singapore so I came out in May of 2010.

The whole premise of CUT was that we wanted to be a modern American steakhouse, so you see signature dishes like a crab cakes, a lobster Louie or a shrimp cocktail and things like that, but done in a very modern way. That’s what we’ve tried to stay true to in our 13 years here.

CUT - Exterior | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

CUT is the only steakhouse in Singapore with a Michelin star. Can you tell us what sets it apart from other steakhouses?

I think that every restaurant has something unique to offer, but what I would like to do is challenge you. I’d like to know what your thoughts are after you have a dining experience here, because I think that that would be interesting to hear your take on why you think or think it should or shouldn’t have a Michelin star.

CUT_Baby Chicken | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

What is your personal philosophy when it comes to your cuisine?

I think first and foremost, it needs to taste good. It has to be delicious. People will come back for flavour, but they won’t come back because it looked good on Instagram. And if you can do both, then better, more power to you. But it’s got to be the best ingredients I can get my hands on and prepare them the best way I know how. That’s usually over fire. And who doesn’t love things cooked over fire?

CUT_Bone In Kagoshima Craft Wagyu_3 | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

In your kitchen, do you use any specific types of charcoals?

We use mesquite charcoals and that’s for everything that comes off the grill. But if you notice on the menu, we do Japanese beef, which is exclusively grilled over binchotan. We treat everything a little bit different. Japanese has a little bit more of a subtle flavour, it’s rich. It’s the only meat that we don’t use our steak salt on, just salt and pepper, because we want the flavour and the nuance of the meat to shine with binchotan and a little bit of smoke.

CUT_Bone-in Kagoshima Craft Wagyu_5 | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

Can you tell us a bit about the rare cuts that you carry?

We were the first ones in Singapore to carry the Japanese Snow Beef from Hokkaido, and also the Matsusaka and Kagoshima bone in products. We have been working with our supplier for years because the Japanese don’t do things on the bone. So we were happy when they finally said that they would do this for us because what happens when they run the beef through the abattoir, they have to stop production from whatever they’re doing, clean all the equipment, run the bone in stuff, stop production, clean it and then run their regular stuff again. So it’s very unique.

We also do this UK heritage beef from Red Poll and Scottish beef, and what’s interesting about that stuff is its carcass dry aged. So instead of individual sub primals, like on the bone that you would see in our dry ager, they’ll hang the whole carcass. It has a very unique flavour. What we’ll do is when we get it, we’ll dry age it for another 20 days further to really develop tenderness and that dry aged flavour.

CUT_USDA Prime, Illinois Corn Fed, Aged 21 Days Bone In Ribeye Steak | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

Can you tell us a bit about three dishes that you must order when you dine here?

The crab cake for sure. For me, it’s the wagyu tasting. We were the first ones, that I am aware of, to basically showcase it. You can taste wagyu side by side from three different continents, from Australia, from Asia and then from the US. I think that’s very unique. And you can’t go wrong with the onion rings, super thin, tempura battered.

CUT_Kaya Baked Alaska | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

Can you recommend three non-meat dishes on your menu?

The burrata salad with poached pears is amazing. Butter lettuce salad is something that we’ve had on the menu since day one. And some of the side dishes, the cream spinach with a fried egg.

CUT - Main Dining Area_2 | CUT by Wolfgang Puck | Greg Bess | Food For Thought

Can you tell us something about CUT that many people might not be aware of?

When we opened in 2010, our corporate chef at the time, the gentleman I studied under, his name is Lee Hefter. He started the original cocktail programme for the entire group worldwide. We’re the only restaurant in the whole group that holds all the recipes. 85 unique bespoke original cocktails. The guys have enough space to support 50 at a time, but we rotate them off and on. When you want to talk about a place for cocktails, this is, in my opinion, the most amazing cocktails that you’re going to find anywhere, with the most diverse menu. It’s some of the most skilled bartenders. It’s a highly underrated bar, in my humble opinion. Every restaurant uses the recipes developed here. We use them at Spago Beverly Hills, CUT Beverly Hills, all around the world. And it all started here. The list got so big we couldn’t support it all in one shot. So 30 of them are dormant from time to time because there’s enough room.


Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic and drinks writer and is the editor of independent publication Food For Thought. He has been a freelance journalist for the 15 years and has previously worked as a lawyer and in digital marketing. He currently is the Principal Consultant of A Thought Full Consultancy, a food and beverage marketing consultancy.

One Comment

  1. When crafting a dish, do you focus on celebrating individual ingredients or creating harmonious blends? regard

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