Tales from the Table

This week we turn the spotlight on Judy MacIntyre, one of three co-owners of Table Tables, who talks exclusively to School Notices on how she came to be in the most enviable position of trying out new restaurants and exploring the food scene in Singapore.

Judy also gives us the low down on which new restaurants and bars she has her eye on to try next as well as a personal tip on how to make eating with her family tthat little bit special.  With two young daughters at Dulwich College (Singapore) we sit down across the table from Judy and get down to the nitty gritty of life in the foodie fast lane….

Have you always had a passion for food?

Coming from Asian backgrounds where food is central to culture and society, my partners and I have always had a passion for food. Living in Singapore provides the perfect excuse for indulging that passion!

How did you find yourself in the position as the new owner of Table Tales and what is your background prior to acquiring it?

Karin van Vliet who had the brilliant idea to start Table Tales (initially called Eat Singapore) a few years ago, is a good friend. And, as in most expats life when the time came for her to relocate, she contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in taking it over. I knew I’d love to do it but really wanted it to remain alive and well in Singapore if and when the time came for me to move. I couldn’t think of two better women to partner with than Karen and Sharon, who are both Singaporean, thereby ensuring Table Tales will stay in safe hands.
My background is in Strategic Sourcing/Procurement, Contracts and Supplier Management across Corporate (Microsoft) Consulting (Andersen, KPMG) and Public Sector. I did have quite a varied and colourful work history in my younger years though…from being a Flight Attendant to Fitness Instructor!

Why is eating together as a family important?

Eating together is very important in our family. Of course when the children are young and eat different food and eat early it’s hard to do, but as soon as our girls (Lana 11 and Ava 8) were able to, we started eating together. It’s a time for sharing thoughts and ideas, embedding family values and creating memories. Here in Singapore, where one or both parents travel often for work, I think it makes it even more imperative that we take every opportunity to eat together.

In our home we take it a step further, where once a week we do a “proper” dinner, with linen napkins, proper table/cutlery settings and candles. We also grow our own herbs and the girls sometimes help cook and always help with clearing the table.

What does a typical day involve for you?

A typical day for me primarily revolves around the children. From school drop offs and pick ups to all their other activities and commitments, I also am a parent rep and also volunteer at the school. The time that they are in school is when I get down to doing any other work. In addition to Table Tales I also do workshops on growing herbs and ways to use them so it does keep me quite busy. My days often start around 6:15 am and end….well, late! It is wonderful to be able to have the flexibility but equally quite hard I find, to be disciplined and get things done.

How has living and working in Singapore shaped you and your family?

Living and working in Singapore is a fabulous experience. It has shaped me as an individual and us as a family in a very positive way. Seeing the different races live relatively harmoniously, feeling a sense of personal safety, meeting interesting people all with a story to tell, travelling widely, these things have left an indelible mark on all of us. At the same time understanding certain limitations around politics and personal freedoms that come with living here, missing family and friends and sometimes feeling a little “out of place” everywhere, makes us realise what’s truly important, what we value and therefore who we are as individuals and what we stand for as a family.

What is your favourite Hawker place?

It’s hard to pick “a” favourite hawker place…. Adam Rd Food Centre for Nasi Lemak (my single most favourite meal), Lau Pasat at night for taking visitors for Satay and Tiong Bahru for good food overall and the added bonus of wandering around this delightful little bit of Singapore.

Is there a new restaurant or bar on the Little Red Dot which you are keen to try?

Koma, at the Shoppes in MBS and Le Dame de Pic at the newly refurbished Raffles Hotel are high on the “must try soon” list

Tell us your favourite dish and what you like to cook at home for the family

Favourite dish to cook at home depends on whom you’re asking… Lana, one of my daughters, loves a rich, slow cooked Bolognese having grown up in the Italian quarter in Sydney. My other daughter, Ava, has a favourite of Lamb Shanks done north African style in a stew with chickpeas, Cumin, Coriander and smokey paprika (must have pita bread to soak up the sauce).  Richard is a fan of fluffy, buttery mash potatoes (his signature dish and yes, he’s Irish!) and of course you can take the girl out of Sri Lanka but you can’t take Sri Lanka out of the girl….. I love a good curry!

Are you looking for the perfect present for that special foodie in your life? Check out our exclusive Member Offer curated by Table Tales just in time for Christmas!  Bon Apetit!

(For every book sold, Table Tales donates $3 to Club Rainbow, a charity for children with disabilities).

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