Dining on the High Seas

Experience curator The Inside Access brings unforgettable memories to your events

Sun and sea. Good food and good service. These are phrases that sum up experiences from homegrown experience curator, The Inside Access’ Chef on Board series. Connections with Singapore’s and the region’s biggest names in F&B and hospitality in their contact book, The Inside Access, proves that good food can be enjoyed both on land, and on the high seas. The Inside Access did a recent sailing in collaboration Mod-Sin restaurant Wild Rocket.

With the Chef on Board experiences, The Inside Access takes chefs out of the familiar heat of their kitchens and into a yacht’s galley, where they prepare canapes that range from the dainty and delicate, to the rough and rustic. Along with hors d’oeuvres prepared by elite chefs from restaurants such as Pollen, Bistro du Vin, Esquina, and Sushi Jin, you are given control over their choice of spirits. Simply pick a number from The Inside Access’ Little Black Book of cocktails, or be adventurous and choose any sweet or savoury item available on deck for their in-house bar team to incorporate into a mystery cocktail at their mobile bar. All that’s left for you to do is to relax and enjoy while cruising along Singapore’s southern coast.

The Mod Sin Experience

As the yacht sailed down the scenic south of Singapore, Mod Sin restaurant Wild Rocket’s culinary team prepared dinner – a smorgasbord of canapes that were easy on the eyes and tasty on the palate.

Canapes showed off the Mod Sin energy that Chef Willin Low has been championing in Singapore and the international gastronomy circuit. Highlights include yusheng angel hair, minced curry chicken served on rice cracker, Roxy Laksa bee tai mak, otah bruschetta, 48 hour beef rendang, satay tartlet with the pandan panna cotta offering a nice sweet finish to the evening.

Executing the basics of good hospitality

Curating private and innovative, gastronomic adventures is what The Inside Access does best. At the cusp of what they do is taking care of all the logistics and executing the basics of hospitality – all in order to set the stage for you to be that wonderful, unforgettable host.

The Inside Access is an event management company. Its vision is to be a planner of functions that are remembered for life (in a good way of course). It believes in getting the basics right. Every event it plans and manages is different and deserves that unique touch. This is done invisibly behind the scenes, so that its clients can be dedicated to being the best hosts. People, not profit, come first – these include its team members. Led by hospitality industry veteran Arron Goh, The Inside Access is staffed by a team that prioritises building strong relationships. Every line in its Little Black Book is filled with clients, partners and suppliers that share their values.

A Chat with The Inside Access Founder Arron Goh and team

Tell us when The Inside Access started, and something about the founders, and why you chose the name of the business?

The Inside Access (TIA) was launched officially in 2017 but I never meant to start an events management company. Back in 2015, I left the hospitality industry after 17 years to help run my family’s cleaning business. A few of my friends started reaching out to me to help them plan events given my experience. Through referrals, one event led to another and I decided that the time was right to launch TIA after 2 years. It was an organic growth process driven purely by passion and love for hospitality and people.

Throughout my 17 years in hospitality, I was very lucky to have the opportunities to work in Singapore, Shanghai and Dubai, leading projects of various scales and concepts (Hotels, restaurants, bars, private members club etc.) I always believe that the most valuable asset of The Inside Access is the genuine and long-lasting relationships which I have built with my team, partners and clients.

The name – The Inside Access ­– simply means that we can give you access that others may not be able to provide. The insights, special arrangements, priority access, and most importantly tender loving care, are only made possible as we know the chefs, general managers and owners personally.

Event management and experience curating today is very competitive, with people looking for something ‘special’ and ‘different’. What kind of planning do yacht parties entail?

For our Chef on Board yacht parties, we usually bring a restaurant partner on board to prepare bespoke canapes, which is always a great experience for our guests to see their food being prepared live. It’s also fun for our guest chefs to get out of their kitchens and enjoy the sea breeze for once! To top off the experience, we also set up a full bar for our guests get to enjoy free-flow champagne and customised cocktails made by our resident mixologist.

Yacht parties usually require more thought as there are many factors beyond our control such as bad weather, equipment breakdown, and so forth. However, given our experience in planning yacht parties, we have developed the foresight to ensure that we are well covered in any circumstances. With our unique F&B offering and seamless execution, I believe this is the reason why our clients always come back or refer their friends to plan their yacht parties with us.

The Inside Access works out of Singapore, Bangkok and Bali. What are the main differences in events habits between these markets?

We don’t see any key differences in the events habits among the 3 markets as there is always a fair share of corporate and private events in each market. Our clients come to us not because we specialise in a specific type of event but because of our ability to make each event bespoke and unique based on what they want.

You have a number of impressive chefs on board. How did you get them to be part of your team?

One of our core values is to always treat people right – and that means not only our clients, but also my team and our partners. My 17 years of hospitality experience has helped me to speak the same language as our partners as I can empathise with their constraints and therefore reach a win-win solution during negotiation.

The relationships that I have with my partners are more like friendships built throughout the years when I was working with hospitality groups such as Unlisted Collection: and The Lo & Behold Group. We always have fun working together and they are therefore always happy to take care of our guests like their own.

Food plays a large part in any social event. How do you come up with creative menus and themes while being eco-friendly and ‘green’?

The creative menus and themes stem from what our clients want and we make their vision come to life! For every event, I will always have an initial face-to-face meeting with my client to understand his/her “real” needs and wants. I will then find the right restaurant partner which matches my client’s preference and conceptualise with them.We have always been making a conscious effort to be eco-friendly since the day we started by using metal straws and compostable cutlery, which have also become more accessible these days.

Some things don’t go according to plan or the script sometimes such as weather and location, logistics crises. How do you handle these setbacks?

Most factors are beyond our controls and I will be very happy if 50% of what we plan actually goes according to plan. However, with the team’s 30 years of combined hospitality experience, we have developed the foresight to ensure that we are well covered in any circumstances. On the ground, we constantly think 3 steps ahead so that we can rectify any potential issues that may arise before our client or their guests even realise it. I therefore believe that this is the secret of The Inside Access – the invisible and smooth execution behind any bespoke experience.

We will also do a post-mortem after the event to go through the unforeseen setbacks and discuss how we can prepare better for upcoming events.

How do you relax after a hard day at work? What is your favourite food and cocktail/drink?

Having a good meal with my partner and spending time with my foster son as well as 2 fur kids is my best way to relax after a hard day’s work. Seeing them having fun really makes my day.

Singaporeans are so blessed to have so many good food options that we are spoilt for choice. If I really need to choose one, it will be nasi lemak with lots of side dishes, and a cup of traditional black sock coffee.

What advice can you give a young student who wants to start a business in events or experience curating like you have?

I believe that everyone needs different advice at various phases of their career but for someone who is new, I will also strongly encourage him/her to start from the ground up in the industry first. They need to experience for themselves that behind the glamour, there is a lot of sweat, stress and hard work involved that most people don’t see. Furthermore, without a strong foundation of experience and knowledge in hospitality, it will be very difficult to survive as it is a very people-driven industry.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of having patience, humility, determination and resilience, especially in this industry.

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