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Tristin Farmer

Zén, Singapore

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Scottish Chef Tristin Farmer began his career at the Krug Ambassade of the late Chef Andrew Fairlie and subsequently worked under Gordon Ramsay for eight years, becoming the Head Chef of Maze in London at age 26. Today, he runs the kitchen at Björn Franzén’s Zén restaurant in Singapore, where the food is as exquisite as the team is down-to-earth. The inviting and collaborative spirit he fosters makes each visit to Zén feel like a friendly reunion.

A talk with Tristin Farmer

Can you tell us about your journey as a Chef?
The first Michelinstarred meal I enjoyed was as a trepidatious young man mustering up the courage to ask for a job at Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant and Krug Ambassade in Scotland, which is also where I first discovered Krug Champagne. Not only did he welcome me warmly as a guest but, a few months later, Chef Fairlie hired me to work in the kitchen. Fast-forward, I cooked under Gordon Ramsay for eight years, ultimately becoming the Head Chef of Maze in London at age 26. He taught me a tremendous amount and I owe my success to him.
Today, at Zén, Björn Frantzén has opened my eyes to a wonderfully inclusive restaurant culture, where waiters learn to plate food and Chefs to present guests with wine and Champagne, including Krug of course. These three Chefs have left an indelible impression on me, which is why today I think about cooking good, fresh food as a way for people to come together, sit and enjoy.
How would you describe the atmosphere of your restaurant?
I always wanted to work where I would feel welcome, which is why today I strive to make people feel the same way. At Zén, we socialise with our guests as we go from kitchen to dining room, where the same 80s and 90s rock music can be heard. It keeps the Chefs upbeat and full of energy, while guests tap their feet to the rhythm. We also moved away from Nordic bare tables in an effort to make the tablecloth cool again. While we are very professional and take our food seriously, we want the guest experience to be friendly and informal.
Can you tell us your favourite ways to cook the onion?
We are a very ingredient-focused restaurant and produce is our greatest inspiration. Like Krug, at Zén, we have a real bond with our suppliers. I love using onions because they are particularly versatile. Slow cooking will bring out their natural sweetness while roasting enhances their umami and a caramelised onion can be almost bitter. You can use it as a base, a dish in itself, on pizzas or even in desserts, although I have never tried.
Do you recall your first glass of Krug?
My discovery of Krug occurred that unforgettable day upon my first visit at Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant as a young man before he hired me. From the initial sip through to the desserts, this evening remains one of my favourite food memories. My first glass of Krug at Zén was a surreal moment because it was when I was offered and accepted my current role. I had spent the whole day with Chef Björn Frantzén and his team speaking about the project. They were so friendly that I was on cloud nine when they invited me to go home, change and come back for dinner as if I were a guest. By the time the Champagne cart rolled by and Carl Frosterud, the sommelier and General Manager, served me a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée, the reality of my new job sunk in. From now on, I will always associate this fullness and depth of flavours with one of the best days of my career.
For whom would you prepare your dream Krug pairing?
Auguste Escoffier. I am sure he would love to see how food has evolved in the 21st Century and I would be proud to serve him at Zén, where he could see that we still use the fundamentals he created but with a modern twist. I would like to see his reaction to how restaurants are today.

Onion, almond and liquorice

Onion, almond and liquorice

    2 servings
  • timing
    3 hours
  • preparation time
    1 hour
  • Cooking time
    2 hours



1.5 kg Roscoff onions (raw)

250 g unsalted butter

500 g Roscoff onions

butter-braised (cooked)

350 ml white wine (dry)

150 g butter, 600 ml milk

300 ml cream

6 g salt (1.25% of mixed and passed product)


1 kg Roscoff onions (sliced)

100 g butter, 80 ml balsamic vinegar

40 g sugar, 200 ml cream, 200 ml milk


100 ml onion soup10 g butter

lemon juice to taste


500 g heavy cream

5 g Nicator liquorice, 2.5 g salt

0.5 g Lambda carrageenan


1 l milk, 1 l almond milk

250 g marcona almonds

5 g soy lecithin, 10 g salt

50 ml almond oil



Peel and thinly slice onions, slowly braise in butter, no colour. Strain off excess butter and reserve cooked onions. Scale out 500 g of cooked onion. Cook the wine for 5 min to remove raw flavour. Add the rest and cook for a few more minutes. Blend until smooth, pass through fine sieve. Scale out total weight and add salt.



Caramelise the onions with butter on medium heat until dark golden brown. Deglaze with vinegar (preferably 10-year aged balsamic) and sugar, cook off. Add the dairy, cook until onions are almost splitting from the cream. Blend smooth, pass and season with salt.



Combine and season to taste.



Bring cream to 40°C, mix in the rest to activate the carrageenan. Leave to infuse overnight. Whisk before use.



Warm milk. Chop almonds into big pieces. Use large sieve to remove small pieces of almond. Toast the almonds at 150°C for 18 min (low fan). Infuse in the milk for 24 hours. Bring milk  to a simmer, blend in all ingredients.



Place one spoon of caramelised onion purée on the dish, followed by the onion soup. Sprinkle toasted almonds, top with almond foam, dust liquorice powder and spoon liquorice cream in the center, followed by the almond oil.

The nougaty, hazelnut and amandine notes of the Champagne speak volumes to the broad strokes of rich nutty flavours in the dish. Hints of sweetness in the layers of onion umami complement the bold intensity of Krug. The subtle liquorice cream is a surprising twist, bringing forward sweet spice and marzipan.
Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition

The Most Generous Expression of Champagne



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Krug Grande Cuvée
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