Most Eligible Bachelor hopes to be role model for young people in F&B
For Mr Lee Syafiq, being crowned the winner of Cleo magazine's annual Most Eligible Bachelors 2019 last Friday night at Zouk was totally unexpected.
The 26-year-old, who formerly worked at one Michelin-starred restaurant Terra Tokyo Italian, is the co-founder of local burger brand Burgs by Project Warung, which started three years ago as a hawker stall at Golden Mile Food Centre.
The jump from a stable job to an entrepreneurial venture was a risk he was willing to take, to “redefine burgers for Singapore and change up the scene”.
Mr Syafiq, who majored in Culinary Arts at the Institute of Technical Education College West, told The New Paper after his victory: “I thought I was the lowest competitor. I didn’t think highly of myself and just tried to blend in.”
Humility is clearly his strong suit, as he did not attempt to change too much of himself during the preparation and lead-up to the finals, which featured 28 other contestants participating in game, Q&A and striptease segments.
Mr Syafiq, who won prizes worth more than $4,000, said: “I just tried to be myself and motivate other people.”
Commenting on his looks, the bachelor said with a chuckle: “After three years in the hawker business, I grew fatter. But through fasting and not eating burgers every day, I lost 6kg.”
He was also juggling work commitments such as travelling overseas and is currently doing his reservist training.
Cleo’s associate editor Sophie Hong told TNP: “He’s amazingly talented and passionate and has worked so hard to achieve his goals. I’m so glad that our readers love him as much as we do. He’s not only good-looking, but he’s been so nice throughout the whole competition. He's left a good impression on everyone.”
The three subsidiary awards – One To Watch, The Trendsetter and The Boyfriend Material – went to Mr Jaze Phua, Mr Avinash Vardza Raju and Mr Janan Lim respectively.
All winners were decided by Cleo, taking into account public voting by its readers.
As for his future plans, Mr Syafiq hopes to inspire more millennials to join the hawker business, adding: "I'm always up for meeting new people, so don't be shy to say hi when you see me at my stall."
To future hopefuls of the competition, he had this message: “I don't think I'm particularly good-looking - I can only put good food on the table! But it's encouraging to know that being super hunky is not a pre-requisite to win Cleo's Most Eligible Bachelor."