Thaddeus Yeo

“It sounds clichéd but a restaurant truly is the sum of its parts,” says restaurateur Thaddeus Yeo, co-founder of Mediterranean-inspired Lolla (named one of the 10 Hottest Restaurants in the World by Zagat in 2013) and its more experimental sister, Lollapalooza. “From the choice of flowers, to the amenities in the washrooms and even the type of peppermill and salt cellar we choose to use at the table — these things make a difference. Thankfully, I find this aspect of the job, though time-consuming and exhausting, very interesting. I thrive on it.”

Although Yeo has run restaurants for over a decade, he admits that it never gets easier as “there is always something new that will go wrong”. And when it comes to service, this gracious host takes it upon himself to put his customers at ease: “I think people can come across as difficult because they are used to having to fight to be heard in the daily course of their lives. Once they realise that they don’t have to fight, that we are truly listening and honestly want them to have a good time, they relax.”