A Taiwanese-born chef who left his position as Din Tai Fung’s assistant head chef in Singapore over half a decade ago to start his own business revealed he is now earning more than his salary at the restaurant chain.
For context: Ben Yu, a 46-year-old, Taiwanese-born chef, told 8Days he first went to Singapore after Din Tai Fung’s headquarters in Taipei opened its first branch at Paragon Shopping Center in 2003. He recalled visiting the city-state every year to manage operations and assist with training kitchen staff.
Yu brought his family to Singapore after he was offered a full-time position as an assistant head chef of Din Tai Fung with a monthly salary of 8,000 Singaporean dollars (approximately $5,857) in 2011.
His venture: Yu left Din Tai Fung in 2017 to open his eatery Feng Food at Northpoint City in Yishun, which offers Taiwanese food. Six years later, he opened another restaurant, Ah Zhong Mian Xian, at South Bridge Road in Singapore’s Chinatown in late August 2023.
Yu revealed to 8Days that he is now earning “around three times more” than his salary at Din Tai Fung six years into his Feng Food business, which now has two branches, with the latest one in Woodlands Square that held its grand opening on Sept. 11.
Why he did it: Yu told 8Days he wanted to challenge himself and put his skills to practice after spending many years learning how to run his business.
The differences: While Yu operates two businesses, he explained that they are run independently as they both have different partnerships.
Besides the partners, Yu said Ah Zhong Mian Xian offers more affordable meals as the location has cheaper rent than Feng Food’s, which is located in a shopping mall with high foot traffic.
The ones handling the cooking: Since Yu now focuses more on running the business side of things, his eight partners, most of whom were former Din Tai Fung chefs, are now in charge of kitchen matters.