Roast Meat Stall With 82-Year-Old Cook Closes Despite Long Queues Because He Has No Help
As Singapore moves on from the worst of the pandemic, it faces another challenge: a manpower crunch across various industries, including the F&B world. Fine-dining restaurateurs, hawkers and everyone in between are all affected – the folks behind Old Master Roasted Grill are no exception.
The 18-month-old stall in Chinatown Complex Food Centre closed down in July despite drawing “long queues daily” for the charcoal-roasted meats cooked by Cho Siew Wan, an 82-year-old shifu with half a century of experience as a roast meat specialist.
Why? Even a master needs help moving “a couple of hundreds of kilograms of pork and duck every day” — but no help could be found. “The kind of work he does is very tiring and strenuous. He told me that he needed help, if not he can’t carry on,” Sham Hei, business partner and towkay of 20 herbal soup stalls, tells 8days.sg. “But it was very hard to find anyone willing to do it. (Even at a salary of $15 an hour which worked out to about $3.2K for a six-day work week, higher than the average hawker’s assistant salary). Shifu came in at 5am daily to start cooking, because he’s used to it. But where can you find someone who wants to work those kinds of hours?”No part of this story or photos can be reproduced without permission from 8days.sg.