Daniel Ballis is a bold restaurateur. The Gen-Y millennial has three brands under his belt within merely a few years. We catch up with the straight-talking Melbournian to find out more.
Daniel Ballis is a tall and lanky third-culture kid from Melbourne, Australia. Driven to achieve success in the F&B scene, Daniel has a passion to create and deliver new concepts in Singapore. Moosehead, Gemmills and Maggie Joan’s are gem finds situated in old shophouses along Telok Ayer and Club Streets.
The bold restaurateur has a penchant for Asian culture. I inquire about the charm about these locales, and he replies: “There’s a rich history that resonates in these shophouses. You can feel the soul of the shop. They aren’t perfect, and that’s beautiful. Like the F&B scene in Singapore, they continue to evolve over time.”
Doyenne: Is there a common thread binding all three dining concepts - Moosehead, Gemmills, and Maggie Joan’s?
Daniel Ballis: Dad (co-owner Glen Ballis) and I are Greek Australians, so we try to input Mediterranean influences into each outlet, like encouraging diners to share their food, creating a convivial atmosphere, and selecting colourful ingredients for our F&B.
Ultimately, these restaurants are a reflection of the places we’d want to dine at, as we constantly travel to discover and experience new cultures. These restaurant vibes portray the personalities and energies of the people who work in them. From the kitchen to the dining room, our staff play a key role in creating that energy and feeling for people to enjoy themselves.
D: Tell us about your journey. You are a Melbourne native, Dad is a restaurant owner in Russia, and you’ve travelled around the world!
DB: We are a bit like gypsies – never staying too long in one place. I spent much of my childhood in Asia. In a sense, Asia is a part of me. After studying in Sydney, I began to work, and redirected myself to return to Asia. When an opportunity came up, I didn’t hesitate to move to Singapore.
D: What was your earliest ambition in life?
DB: I was very close to playing golf on a full-time basis.
D: If your 21-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?
DB: Why are you not driving a Porsche yet?
D: Complete these sentences:
- When I was young… My first job was at an ice-cream shop. I had no idea but had a lot of fun!
- While most people will find this terrifying… I’m an adventurous diner and will eat whatever is offered to me.
- Eating out in Singapore is… Hard. There are so many great choices! The restaurant scene is much like the country – a melting pot of cultures, flavours and big ideas.
- An unforgettable dining experience has… Incredible taste, service and perfect company. It’s a “F***, that’s delicious!” moment.
- If I could have a meal with someone dead or alive… I would bring all my family together and eat one of the restaurants.