First, the hairnet comes on. Second, the dustcoat. And third, a good scrubbing of the hands with soap.
There are many parallels between chef de partie Won Wai Kim’s job at SATS Catering Centre and a surgeon going into the operating theatre. One of which is that peoples’ lives are in his hands.
The catering centre provides thousands of meals, round the clock, to flights out of Changi Airport. If a worker makes a mistake and the food gets contaminated, the results can be detrimental.
“We can’t afford food to get contaminated here. There are two important things we need to ensure. One, safety and health. Two, quality of food,” said the 60-year-old.
Wai Kim has been working at the catering centre for almost 30 years.
As a Chef De Partie
As chef de partie of the western food kitchen, Wai Kim looks after the orders that come in, checks the availability of ingredients and helps to cook.
He constantly looks for ways to do his job better. When the company implements new productivity measures, Wai Kim is always curious to know how they will improve work processes.
“I am Chinese educated. But, my job requires me to communicate with other workers. Many can’t speak Chinese, coming from other countries. To be able to learn new things, like technology, knowing English is always an advantage.
“To be able to do my job better, I took a course at the British Council to improve my English. Of course, it’s still not so good, but it’s better than last time,” he said.
Celebrating Lunar New Year
Wai Kim worked the morning shift of Lunar New Year. He has only taken about four days of leave on the first day of Lunar New Year in his 30 years with the job.
Believing that the well-being of his colleagues should come before himself, he said: “I celebrate Chinese New Year, but many people celebrate it also. It’s okay that I don’t take leave. It’s okay, let others go first.
“Of course, my family used to always ask, ‘It’s the first day of Chinese New Year, why are you working?’ But I always explain to them that I have a job to do. This year is not so bad. I am on morning shift, and I finish at 3pm. We still have time to celebrate at night,” he said.