Ibid, a word usually seen in the seldom-read footnotes or end pages of an academic tome, might seem an odd name for a restaurant. Not so in the case of the maiden F&B venture of lawyer-in-training turned chef and first winner of the inaugural MasterChef Asia season, Woo Wai Leong.
‘Ibid’, which is abbreviated Latin for ‘the same place’ or ‘from the same source’, is an apt description for a project that seeks to explore birth, roots, origins, and heritage as the springboard for new inspirations and innovations. Indeed the Chinese form 源 ( ‘source’ - yuán) evokes more vividly than its Latin counterpart the vital impulses churning at the heart of Restaurant Ibid -- and the many ‘sources’ it drinks from.
Restaurant Ibid constitutes the culinary vision of Woo Wai Leong, lawyer-in-training turned chef and first winner of the inaugural MasterChef Asia season. ibid draws the concepts of ‘from the same source’ (which ibid means in Latin) and ‘Nanyang’, which is characterized by an East-West sensibility and a constant search for origins and identity. From these dual inspirations comes Nanyang-style, Contemporary Chinese cuisine, a creative art form forged from Wai Leong’s own Nanyang heritage and Asian and Western culinary background. Housed in a conserved riverside shophouse and staffed by youthful ‘cross-trained’ kitchen and service talents, Restaurant Ibid is a seamless integration of concept, style and operation springing ‘from the same source’ embodied in the restaurant’s dynamic chef-owner.
Chef Woo Wai Leong
In his practice of the cuisine and his quest to define identity through food, Wai Leong is one of the key figures of the Nanyang movement. Restaurant Ibid has motivated him to pursue deeper into the roots of Chinese cuisine – a quest both professional and personal. In the future, this may include the exploration of Chinese teas and traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients for their intrinsic flavours and aromatics, as well as possibly bringing in wines produced in Chinese vineyards. The passions that led to the founding of Restaurant Ibid, and to Wai Leong’s embrace and exploration of his roots, spring from one and the same sentiment elegantly wrought in the Chinese saying 饮水思源，追根寻源, – “When you drink water, consider its source”.