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Humans of the Embassy
Derick Koh, Resident Chef at Deputy Chief of Mission's Residence
May 31, 2022

I started cooking at a young age helping my grandmother in the kitchen. She had a huge influence in inspiring me to pursue this profession. Before joining the Embassy, I was in the Singapore Navy as a chef in the Archer class submarine. That was an interesting experience experimenting with different dishes and cuisines to serve my former colleagues and VIP guests. I not only cooked Singaporean food, but I also delved into Western cuisine applying what I learned during my training in Sweden.

As the resident chef at the Deputy Chief of Mission’s Residence, I am responsible for creating the menu and preparing the dishes for his guests. Before the pandemic, we held more regular events and one or two times. Occasionally, I get starstruck by some of our guests. I guess meeting a diversity of people from all walks of life is one of the perks of working for the U.S. Embassy, but more importantly, I like to think that I contribute to a greater cause of forging a strong U.S.-Singapore relations through my food. Food is a great way to bring people together regardless of differences in culture and tradition. I’m glad that I have an opportunity to do this.

I feel good thinking that what used to be a hobby became a job that I enjoy doing. Not everyone gets the chance to do what they love as a profession so I consider myself privileged. It’s a real bonus to be able to contribute to a wider cause while being in this profession.