Bold chef with even bolder flavours smoking up a storm in Singapore
In common with many Australians, Dave Pynt grew up eating plenty of food grilled in the great outdoors. But the Perth native’s memory of such grilled fare is dominated by “burnt sausages and shrimps on the f**cking barbie”.
Now the expansively bearded chef is manning the fire pits at Asia’s most innovative BBQ spot, Burnt Ends in Singapore, and attracting plaudits from across the industry in the process. Having opened in 2013 – backed by visionary Singaporean restaurateur and hotelier Loh Lik Peng and chef Andre Chiang, among others – Burnt Ends has established itself as one of the Lion City’s hottest of hot spots.
Pynt, still just 33, kicked off his career with the revered chef Tetsuya Wakuda in Sydney. In 2010, he left Australia and caught the curl at René Redzepi’s Noma, which was crowned The World’s Best Restaurant for the first time that year. He then traversed to a sleepy village, Axpe, in the Spanish Basque Country, where he trained under enigmatic chef and charcoal master Victor Arguinzoniz at Asador Etxebarri.
For Pynt, the time at Etxebarri was both a revelation and a re-evaluation of his own Aussie food upbringing. Arguinzoniz taught him very fresh perspectives on a denuded but sophisticated way of cooking with fire, as well as broadening his views on what ingredients can benefit from a lick of smoke.
Pynt later arrived in London, with a stint at Fergus Anderson’s acclaimed St. John Bread and Wine and running Nuno Mendes’s underground, avant-garde supper club, The Loft Project. It was in the summer of 2012 that Pynt went solo, building a BBQ oven and setting up a short-term residency at an obscure railway arch in East London. It was called “Burnt Enz”, spelt very precisely with a “Z”. And, quickly, it caught fire among London’s most respected food insiders and aficionados.
Straight talking but affable Pynt makes food that's all about bold taste and market-driven cooking. He lets on that one of the secrets behind Burnt Ends’ accomplished BBQ is Australian Jarrah wood, a tonne of which is required weekly. The wood contains very little humidity and enables Pynt to discipline his aggressive blaze effectively in his custom-built ovens and elevation grills.
On the plate, Pynt toys with Spanish influences, sometimes teases with premium Australian produce and finishes off with global touches. As an example, flame-kissed marrons (flown in live from Western Australia) are generously doused with popping flying fish roe and kombu-infused beurre blanc. Chefs and foodies alike flock to grab a seat at the counter where they can watch the chef and his team smoke up a storm.
Burnt Ends is very much a personal project for Pynt, but it's also one that has captured the imagination of the gastronomic world across Asia and beyond.
20 Teck Lim Rd
+65 6224 3933
The Chefs' Choice Award 2018, sponsored by Estrella Damm, will be announced at Asia's 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony in Macao on Tuesday 27th March.