Andrew Cameron is the Beverage Director for Burnt Ends, Meat Smith, Meat Smith Little India, Burnt Ends Cellars and Rogue Trader. Seeing as we’ve got Meat Smith on board to do food at Pinot Palooza, we thought we’d grab Andrew for a chat on all things Pinot, Singapore, food and booze!
Tell us about yourself. How did you end up in Singapore?
My background is in the Life Sciences & Business, doing projects on tropical medicines Panama for the Smithsonian & climate change research in forests at risk. I changed my major to Microbiology as I found it fascinating how much of our day-to-day lives are influenced by this often invisible world. Wine, cheese, bread, vinegar, soil, water, air – our own health. I worked in cocktail bars and restaurants as I was finishing my Technology Innovation degree, and worked many events within the arenas of Science Communicators and Food & Wine Festivals.
I then found myself in Adelaide working a pop-up cocktail bar for Lola’s Pergola at Adelaide Fringe in 2014 – rolling all sorts of crazy ferments for cocktails, and pairings for the First Fruit Dinners – and I met some of the incredibly inspiring and innovative winemakers based in South Australia. Creative scientists with business acumen, environmental awareness and a good palate. I found the people I resonated most with. In 2015 I had moved there to get my hands dirty and to learn more directly.
Although only one year in, I was referenced by an excellent Pinot Noir producer from Victoria for this position to work with Dave and the team at Burnt Ends. I flew up, we got along famously – and the rest is history. Bringing the conversation about how excellent Australian wine can be, one glass at a time.
Tell us more about your role at Burnt Ends/Meat Smith?
My role at Burnt Ends and Meat Smith is to ensure the beverage programs are in sync with the identity of the venue. Quite often the resources available here in Singapore are not up to date with the exciting stuff that is going on back to the home soil of what we are trying to represent. I really am trying to bring the venues up to speed with what is going on in real time – so someone can leave one of the best restaurants/bars in the country we are tuning into, land here and feel they have just walked into another room.
A lot of people are a long way from home here, and we really want them to feel connected again.
I do a lot of foraging and hustling as part of my role, I also look after our import program for Burnt Ends Cellars – bringing Australian Wine, Beer & Spirits into SG and sharing the love across the city.
In short, the programs I manage:
- Burnt Ends – All Australian Wine list respecting the best of the older generations & regions, as well as having all the exciting new stuff. Broad spectrum offered by the glass. Cocktails showcasing Australian spirits and channel the smoke, fire & a la minute ethos we have throughout the restaurant.
- Meat Smith – All American Wine List – Big boy Napa Red, but some super exciting organic and biodynamic producers coming out of California. Working on expanding the list outside of CA, WA & OR. Extensive selection of American Whiskey. American classic cocktails.
- Meat Smith Little India – All Indian Wine List. Mixture of Indian and American Whiskey. An American smokehouse respecting Indian spice – Freeflow Indian Lemonade instead of Southern Iced Tea.
- Rogue Trader – British Colonial India – Spice Trade. Classic cocktails showcasing the diversity of spice, whilst not being overcomplicated. Formal and friendly service. Rare & Old Whisky Selection. Strong Gin offering. Stories of adventure.
- Burnt Ends Cellars – Import and Distribution of Australian wines in Singapore and abroad. Predominantly small-batch and minimal intervention.
What’s the food and wine scene like over there (wine, in particular)? Has it changed at all?
This is the foodiest city in the world – everyone is eating all the time, and the quality is incredible. Everyone is always thinking about their next meal. I have definitely witness the wine scene evolved a lot over my short tenure. This part of the world is traditionally wired to the Old World, The Expensive and the Prestige that comes with that. People are starting to think more about wine as something fun to be enjoyed – and also as an element of the meal, and how to pair.
Cabernet isn’t the best fit for Pad Thai.
People are definitely becoming more adventurous and curious & looking at far more than the price tag.
What are you most looking forward to at Pinot Palooza Singapore?
A big party. A good crowd coming by to explore the diversity of Pinot Noir, chat and enjoy some great food and music.
Best food and Pinot match?
There are so many angles to this, but I will always remember the first time I did a Riedel masterclass – and melted some white chocolate on my tongue and followed it with some Central Otago Pinot Noir. Next level.
What do you drink when no one is watching?
A bottle of sherry to myself. It’s a very private and selfish thing I do sometimes.
Best music to drink Pinot to?
Anything as brooding and complex as The National for your weightier numbers with dark fruit to some 80’s & 90’s upbeat hits to go with some of those funkier numbers from the ratbags in the Basket Range.
If Pinot was a music artist, who would it be?
David Bowie. Intelligent and versatile.