S'porean now head chef at Jamie's Italian in Bali
HE DROPPED out of school twice. But after three years of hard work, local chef Jerome Rezel has become the head chef of Jamie's Italian Kuta Beach in Bali.
The restaurant is a branch of English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain.
The 27-year-old bachelor told The New Paper in a phone interview from Bali: "It has been my dream since I had the passion to be a cook (when I was 17) to be the head chef at a celebrity chef's restaurant."
In April, Gary Clarke, executive chef of culinary operations and development for Jamie's Italian in South-east Asia, told Mr Rezel that he would be promoted from sous chef to head chef in June.
The head chef oversees all kitchen operations and the sous chef is his second in command.
In his younger years, Mr Rezel "couldn't study" and scored mostly Cs and Ds at primary and secondary school.
He studied retail management at ITE College East but dropped out after his first year.
He said his Chinese-Singaporean mother, 57, and Eurasian father, 55, who both worked in banks, were "slightly upset" but were also "very encouraging in giving me the freedom to choose my career and life".
His passion for cooking was ignited during national service after a platoon mate gave him a cookbook to read.
After NS, he enrolled in Shatec for a two-year culinary course and graduated in 2010 as one of the top 10 students in his cohort.
Mr Rezel gave studies another shot and enrolled in Kaplan Singapore in 2012 for a course on marketing and management. But the pull of the kitchen was too strong.
He said: "My mum said, 'Go for it, but make sure you become the best'."
So he dropped out of school in 2013 to apply for a cooking position at Jamie's Italian Singapore. He was hired as a junior sous chef.
Mr Rezel attributes his success to his parents' support and the desire to silence people who said he would not succeed without a degree.
"The more people said that, the more I wanted to show them that I could," he said.
THE NEW PAPER