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Unsung Hero

Sweet Inspirations

Irene Soh, Pastry Chef, Marina Bay Sands Singapore

From breakfasts and coffee breaks to galas and weddings, Chef Irene leads her team to create sweet memories for conventioneers and hotel guests

Rising to the Occasion

Recalling his immediate impression of her “irresistible energy and joy” when he first met Chef Irene five years ago, Wee Min Ong, executive director of sales for Marina Bay Sands Singapore, calls her the “embodiment” of the unsung hero.

   “People are the real reason behind Singapore’s success as a MICE and visitor destination, which makes the Unsung Hero program especially important,” he says. “With an innate spark, which touches everyone who meets her, Chef Irene brings passion and heart to her work. She and her team are closely involved in all Sands Expo and Convention Centre meetings and events, and she has only grown in confidence and creativity in her role.”

   When the pressure is on, Chef Irene rises to the occasion. “Once, she was given an hour to create a strawberry shortcake for a major client with food allergies,” says Mr. Ong. “The client said it was the best cake she had ever tasted. For her heart, her passion, and her ability to lead her team in meeting challenges every day, Chef Irene is a true unsung hero of Singaporean hospitality.”  

Unforgettable

Drawn to the “aroma and color” of baked goods in her high school home economics class, Chef Irene set her sights on Singapore’s highly competitive hotel catering schools. Admitted on her second try, she developed her craft before leaving to pursue restaurant work. Following overseas stints in Australia and elsewhere, she returned home and answered an ad to become an ice cream maker at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

   “The machine was bigger than me,” she recalls. “I told the hiring chef I would find people to help me carry it, but he laughed and offered me a job making petite cakes and French pastries instead. That was my foot in the door.”

   And her career sweet spot. Now in her eighth year at the resort, Chef Irene and her team of 15 chefs—bakers included—produce thousands of artful cakes, cookies, desserts and other treats for delegates and guests every day. 

   “Some days we can have as many as 10 functions, including events for 3,000-plus people,” she says. “My pride and passion are always the same, though: to meet guest requirements, while also creating a sincere, genuine experience and unforgettable memory of Singapore for them. And I count my team, some whom I hired as teenagers, as my unsung heroes.” 

 

Plentiful Possibilities

Following the integrated resort model pioneered in Las Vegas by Sands’ founder Sheldon Adelson, Marina Bay Sands Singapore presents numerous possibilities for MICE and leisure travelers alike. Inspiration begins with the resort’s dazzling design, by celebrated Israeli architect Moshe Safdie.

   With global sought-after appeal, three hotel towers housing 2,561 luxurious rooms curve skyward, crowned by the 57th-floor Sky Park. This 2.5-acre cantilevered marvel features the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool; Spago from Wolfgang Puck, one of 80 resort restaurants; and breathtaking panoramas, including Singapore’s magical Gardens by the Bay. Skywalk-connected to the hotel, this waterfront oasis’s enchantments include its signature metal Super Trees and Flower Dome, the world’s largest glass greenhouse.

   Integrating the Sands Expo and Convention Centre (see Dream Venue), the resort also incorporates the Casino at Marina Bay Sands; entertainment venues; and, with some 270 boutiques and restaurants under a curving glass canopy, the multi-level Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Outside, the Marina Bay promenade connects to the ArtScience Museum, known as the “The Welcoming Hand of Singapore” for its lotus flower form.

Dream Venue

Offering more than 1.3 million square feet, The Sands Expo and Convention Centre is Singapore’s primary MICE facility. Wee Min Ong, executive director of sales for Marina Bay Sands Singapore, calls the venue “a dream come true” for groups.

   “As part of our integrated resort, the Centre offers a one-stop shop for meeting planners and their clients,” he says. “Built to attract global business, the venue hosts more than 3,000 events annually, including corporate and large-scale association meetings, trade shows and incentives. North America is one of our largest markets, spanning industries from banking, finance and insurance to automotive and technology.”

   One of Asia’s largest group venues, the award-winning, sustainability-focused Centre offers five floors of highly configurable exhibition and convention space for up to 45,000 delegates. Highlights include the region’s largest ballroom, at over 24,000 square feet; 250 meeting rooms; and space for 2,000 exhibition booths. The meetings advantage extends resort-wide, with other programmable spaces including the 57th-floor Sky Park and the ArtScience Museum.

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