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Nadine Wächter-Moreno: The creative Swiss chef

By: Reading Time: 5 Minutes

She learned her trade in Lucerne and then worked as a chef in Mexico, Australia and the USA. Today, Nadine Wächter-Moreno is the first female head chef at Andaz Singapore. KTCHNrebel spoke to the Swiss native about her career, motivation and her love of Asian cuisine.

With over 20 years of experience, Nadine Wächter-Moreno, in the first female chef at Andaz Singapore. The Swiss native is responsible for all culinary activities, from events and catering to all five beverage and food outlets of the hotel – including 5 ON 25, a new Cantonese restaurant.

As female head chef in a male-dominated industry

How difficult is the position of executive chef in what is really a male dominated field? “Society has evolved and there are now more female chefs taking responsibility and making a big evolutionary leap in the industry,” explains the ambitious chef. “I am proud to be a part of this positive change and a brand that values diversity and inclusivity.”

Executive chef Nadine Wächter-Moreno

Image: Andaz Singapore

In her opinion, gender is no longer an obstacle to success in this industry. “In the end, it’s all about the special taste you bring to the table,” she states working with a team of around 75 employees, who have four different nationalities. “Each one is different, and my job is to identify their strengths and guide them on their journey so they can become the best version of themselves. At the end of the day, their success is also my success.”

Challenge: Working environment

You should also keep in mind that it is not always necessary to hire the cook with the best resume, but rather that personality and attitude count. “An important component for maintaining team spirit is to bring a sense of humor into everyday life and not take yourself too seriously. We work long hours, so a good working environment is particularly important,” emphasizes the 44-year-old.

Regardless of gender, challenges are pre-programmed, no matter where you go. It’s not hard to master them if you have the right attitude and mindset.Nadine Wächter-Moreno

Professional kitchen: creative, universal and always new

Even as a little girl, Nadine Wächter-Moreno wanted to do something creative about food. “A lot of my childhood memories have to do with my grandmother’s cooking,” says the head chef. When it comes to cooking, she is fascinated by the continuous development of the industry, which never stands still. “There’s always something new to work with – whether it’s new talents, products or culinary techniques from different countries and cultures.”


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Andaz Singapore (@andazsingapore)

Another important incentive for her is that cooking is such a universal language. “No matter where you come from, people can connect through food, and together you create a community or beautiful memories. You have the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with guests and colleagues from different cultural backgrounds. There is no language barrier when it comes to food.”

The key to success: a great team

After her apprenticeship at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Lucerne and various positions in Swiss hotels, the cosmopolitan moved to Australia in 2006, where she worked at the Lizard Island Resort restaurant on the Great Barrier Reef.

In 2008, she moved to Hyatt as Chef de Cuisine at New York Grill in Park Hyatt Tokyo before moving to Executive Chef at the same hotel from 2010 to 2013. She then managed three branches as executive chef at the pre-opening of the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen in Mexico. Most recently, Nadine Wächter-Moreno was Cluster Executive Chef for Hyatt Regency Bali and Andaz Bali.

“I am very grateful to the great chefs and mentors I met throughout my career. They all inspired me in one way or another,” she says. “I learned so much, especially during my three-year training in Switzerland, which strengthened my culinary foundation.” Continuous learning makes life very fulfilling. “One saying I believe in is that there is no great success without a great team.”

Grilled squid skewer, sweet soy sauce, shallot, garlic, cilantro

Image: Andaz Singapore

Constructive feedback and creative freedom for a good working environment

She draws her motivation from mentoring. “I watch my team members grow and ultimately take on a leadership role. I also enjoy building a team. There are usually a lot of different personalities in a workplace, but if you can get them to achieve a goal together, that makes work particularly fulfilling. Everyone has different motivations in life and at work, and I try to create a conducive working environment where each person has the opportunity to present their ideas and let their creativity run free,” says the kitchen expert. “I also always remember to give constructive feedback.”

Swiss chef with a fascination for diverse Asian cuisine

She explains her love for Asia as follows. “I love the variety, taste and the fact that each region has its own speciality in Asian cuisine.” Asia is a fascinating cultural meeting place, especially Singapore. “Singapore, often referred to as a gastronomic paradise, offers a mix of different food cultures. From Hawker centers to Michelin-starred restaurants, the culinary possibilities here are endless,” says the head chef.

Working on the other side of the world from where you grew up is an experience that shapes you for life. Whether it’s about prospects or independence – living and working abroad strengthens me for the future.Nadine Wächter-Moreno

The fact that the likable chef has a special preference for the lively culinary scene in Singapore and sees it as a great enrichment and source of inspiration is also reflected in her words. “There are so many great restaurants in the city, and I get inspired when I go out for dinner and talk to other chefs. It’s easy to exchange ideas with others when you share a common passion.”


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Andaz Singapore (@andazsingapore)

Simple food instead of lots of fancy frills

Wächter-Moreno enjoys a simple and casual meal that is not too complicated. “I prefer to concentrate on the ingredients. Quality is more important than quantity. I also like to experiment with different cuisines and new ingredients that I get to know,” says the kitchen artist. She is inspired by the countries she has worked in, such as the United States, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia and Japan. Her favorite ingredient has been lime since she lived in Mexico. “It’s such a humble citrus fruit, but its spicy taste can give a dish a completely different twist,” says Wächter-Moreno.

Digitalized menus and food apps

She believes that the increasing importance of digitalization in gastronomy cannot be denied. It played an important role in the business to achieve greater efficiency. “At Andaz Singapore, menus were digitized. We have come to rely heavily on QR codes to provide menus to our guests. We use third-party mobile food apps and websites to make take-away operations more seamless and convenient for guests.” In order to reduce food waste, the kitchen team also used a digital counter for food waste, a Thermomix and digital recipe and menu calculation management. “Innovation is crucial for improving efficiency in our daily operations,” says the executive chef.


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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Andaz Singapore (@andazsingapore)

Concentration, discipline and perseverance as a secret to success

Her recipe for success is concentration, a good dose of discipline and perseverance. “It is also important to identify trends and developments in good time,” says Nadine Wächter-Moreno. She is particularly grateful and happy that her husband and daughter have accompanied her wherever she has gone over the years. “Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to continue doing what I enjoy or get to where I am today.”

It is not always easy to find a balance between a fast-paced job and family time. “But this balance is very important to me. It gives me the opportunity to do what I want to do with passion,” says the head chef. Perhaps she wants to move back to her homeland in the future. “At the moment, however, I am happy with the situation I am in. The projects I have started are exciting and I intend to successfully see them through,” emphasizes Nadine Wächter-Moreno.

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