Meet Chef Drew Nocente where he introduces his restaurant Salted & Hung
We met up with Drew Nocente from Salted & Hung and Angie Manners of Vanilla Beige to get to know Drew better. We talked to Drew about his road to opening up Salted & Hung, learned more about his vision and the techniques he favours, and asked about his favourite dishes and restaurants in Singapore. We’re also inviting you to our first exclusive EAT Family dinner on 7 February, so keep reading.
About becoming a Chef
Drew started his cooking career as early as when he was 5 years old. Helping on his family farm with the charcuterie. Fast forward to when he was 15 and he worked in his cousin’s Italian restaurant, back in Australia where he’s from. He instantly fell in love with cooking and working in a restaurant. He knew this is what he wanted to do, being a rock-star chef!
About Salted & Hung
The name Salted & Hung was an easy choice according to Drew. It’s at the basis of everything they do. ‘We hang meat and salt a lot of our food, it represents our concept therefore very well.‘ The overall cuisine served at Salted & Hung can be grouped under Modern Australian. There’s a strong focus on smoking, curing and pickling ingredients, and there will always be charcuterie on the menu. Everything is done in-house and according to the traditional techniques.
Being raised on a farm with the standard to not waste any part of the animal, this is what Drew still lives by. Whatever the animal, Drew will use all of it, whether it is for a main dish, sauce or side.
About the Menu
Drew mentions he has a personal connection with each dish and there’s a lot of emotion put into it when creating it. He likes simplicity on a plate, believes less is more. This doesn’t mean basic though. A dish can feature only three or four items on the plate. However, the protein can have gone through a smoke, a cure and maybe a brine. This means it has gone through three or four stages before it’s even cooked for you and put on your plate. The same goes for sauces – they’re all made from scratch, in-house and they can take 15-16hrs to make.
About XO Sauce
Take Drew’s current passion: XO Sauce. They started playing with some ingredients to make their own version – substituting Chinese products for their own, in-house cured products and refining the flavour to what it is right now. It was a lot of fun creating an in-house version of XO sauce and it’s currently served with a rib-eye and pickled cabbage. Be aware though, this can change up again soon, since each dish is normally updated every 3 to 4 months.
About the Ambience
Salted & Hung should be a place to have fun, to catch up with friends over good food in a relaxed and casual vibe. Let’s not take things too serious and have fun with food and drinks. That’s why they started BYO Tuesdays and Drew has a number of collaborations coming up, either at Salted & Hung or at other restaurants. For example, Drew will go to Bangkok for a dinner with new restaurant Free Bird, he’s hosting a craft beer dinner with Stockade Brew Co. from Australia and he’s launching our very own EAT Family dinners early Feb.
About his Favourites
At the end of our interview we ask Drew what his favourite dish is. Without hesitating he says the Mackerel. This has been on his menu from day one, and even after reviewing it every couple of months to see how he can renew it, it ends up the exact same: gin cured, slightly torched before serving and paired with a powdery nori ash, pickled vegetables and a hand-made horseradish cream. When Drew goes out for dinner himself he favours Bincho for Japanese, Etna for Italian and 13 on Duxton for anything else.
To read more about Drew, read the full interview on Vanilla Beige here.