We tried a $8 lobster bisque pasta at Chinatown Complex Food Centre, and wow

These days, you’d have to fork out a pretty penny to get a decent plate of pasta at most eateries.

But Nudedles.4, a humble hawker stall that opened on Dec 8 at Chinatown Complex Food Centre, is hoping to change that with its affordable but tasty offerings. 

The stall’s name is a fun play on two words — noodles and nudes. The owner, 27-year-old Clarence Chooi, shares that the word “nude” represents the plain pasta noodles that he hopes to spice up with his sauces and ingredients.

It’s pretty unusual to see someone a young as Clarence helming a hawker stall, but he actually has almost a decade of F&B experience — at some pretty illustrious restaurants, no less — under his belt.

The journey to becoming a chef

Early on, Clarence had already thought that becoming a chef was a promising career option. So, in 2011, after his N levels, he enrolled in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West, where he took up a Nitec course in Western culinary arts.

This in turn landed him an opportunity to train under the Institut Paul Bocuse programme in 2013, which only accepts a select few ITE students every year.

He also managed to hone his skills further with two six-month internships at two-Michelin-starred British restaurant Jaan by Kirk Westaway and the now-defunct three-Michelin-starred Joel Robuchon Restaurant.

And while Clarence admits that the journey was no walk in the park — think long hours, being on your feet the whole day and infrequent meal times — he shares that these experiences helped mould him into the chef that he is today.

“Slowly, as I worked at different restaurants through the programme, it helped me to persevere more,” he adds.

After completing his studies and National Service, Clarence began his hunt for a job, but this took quite some time as he “couldn’t find a restaurant that [he] liked”.

Thankfully, he eventually found himself a home for two years at Olivia, a fine-dining Spanish restaurant at Keong Saik Road.

(Here are “9 Affordable Fine Dining Spots In Singapore That Keep Us Going Back“)

However, all good things must come to an end, and Clarence eventually decided to leave Olivia in February last year.

But he didn’t resign without a plan. For quite a while, he had toyed with the idea of pursuing his own F&B venture. He also wanted to chase his dream while he was still young. 

“I don’t want to try to start a business when I have many commitments like marriage, kids and family,” he elaborates.

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