A Tale Of Two Hands

Singapore
By:: 
Jeanette Kwek & Lesley Teoh

Black Miso Salmon Rice Bowl from Two Hands - a social enterprise eatery in Singapore run by Chef Kevan

Inspired by the tattoo on Kevan’s body, 'Two Hands' tells the story of how a mentor helps an apprentice go from a repeat offender to a chef who works hard with his two hands to make an honest living.

Having been in and out of jail since he was 19, it would take another five terms before Kevan eventually put a stop to a life behind bars.

While in prison, Kevan found himself looking forward to meal times to break the monotony of his daily routine because the menu changed every day.

Thus, his fascination with cooking began and he decided to pursue a career as a chef.

Chef Kevan of Two Hands

He began his first placement at Nandos, but after cooking fast food of a year, Kevan wanted something more and joined Garcons in 2016 after getting to know Enoch through a mutual friend.

Garcons serves affordable European fare in a hawker bar setting. It is also a social enterprise that provides culinary training and employment to youth-at-risk.

This allowed Kevan to learn on the job, while receiving a salary at the same time.

While working at Garcons, Kevan was taught culinary skills and put through a grueling regiment of working for typical ‘chef’s hours’ – six days a week from 10.30 am to 10 pm with just a 2-hour break, which often makes or breaks these chefs in training.

“It was very tiring and I was asking myself, why am I doing this? My family and friends show their support by coming by to eat and that keeps me going. As long as I am willing to learn, they (Garcons) will continue to teach me. I am grateful for this opportunity,” he says.

Over time, beneficiaries like Kevan are taught the basics of operating a small restaurant with the hopes that they will one day be able to run their own.

“Enoch is like a brother to me. He coaches me in life. Because he’s been there, he gets it and he guides me, giving me direction and the motivation I need to keep on going.” 

Chefs Enoch Teo & Emmanuel Tee of Garcons - a social enterprise that trains youth-at-risk for careers in the culinary industry and Chef Kevan of Two Hands

[L-R: Enoch Teo, Kevan and Immannuel Tee]

This marked a turning point for Kevan when he opened Two Hands with the support of Enoch Teo and Immanuel Tee from Garcons, he opened Two Hands in Holland Village in April 2017.

“I used to wait for time to pass. Now when I do something I like, it’s worth it at the end of the day.” 

These days, Kevan’s love of cooking has become all-consuming, but not necessarily in a bad way.

“In the past, I would just stay home on my off days. But now I spend all my spare time visiting restaurants to learn about new and interesting ingredients and watching cooking documentaries on Netflix,”he says.

The eatery is a labour of love that showcases Kevan’s talent and the recipes he has co-invented with his mentors.

Rice and skewers from Two Hands restaurant, which was started by Kevan a beneficiary of social enterprise Garcons in Singapore

Two Hands serves modern Asian comfort food that is unapologetically decadent and inspired by rich French classics. Think marbled striploin rice bowls (SGD 16.90) and foie gras skewers (SGD 7.90) that are savoury, rich in umami flavours (i.e. the savoury fifth taste) and definitely moreish!

The menu was purposefully engineered to be inexpensive because Kevan believes in offering accessible food that customers can afford to eat on a regular basis, not just on special occasions.

“I am excited and nervous about this new outlet. This is different. A new step, I’m my own boss and I can now be a brother to others too. My goal is simple - I don’t want to screw up. But if it isn’t successful, I know I’ll learn something. I want people to know that there is hope, everyone can change.”

Two Hands is located at 33 Lorong Liput, Holland Village Food Court, Singapore 277744.

Operating Hours:

Mon-Thurs: 11.30am- 2.30pm/ 5.30pm- 1am

Fri, Sat, Sun, and Public Holidays: 11.30am- 1am

Have we got your mouth watering yet?  Check out our list of restaurants where you can have your fill and give back too!  

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