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Published October 19, 2006

Eighth Wonder plans Sentosa IR hiring spree
It intends to have 15,000 full-time staff, with 5,000 solely for F&B


By ARTHUR SIM

(SINGAPORE) Eighth Wonder intends to employ up to 15,000 people at its proposed Sentosa integrated resort (IR), significantly raising the stakes in what is increasingly becoming a numbers game.


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Class act: There are plans to incorporate a cooking school within Hotel Alain Ducasse (top) at Sentosa


Genting International/Star Cruises has said it will employ 10,000 people, while Kerzner International/CapitaLand has said it will employ 8,000 in the first year.

Eighth Wonder chairman Mark Advent said yesterday his company's 15,000 would just be full-time staff. It would expect to hire a large contingent of part-time staff as well.

Mr Advent was speaking at a news conference a day after presenting Eighth Wonder's bid to the Sentosa IR assessment panel.

On the impressive number of jobs the company hopes to create, he said about 5,000 people will be employed solely for F&B operations, headed by celebrity chef Alain Ducasse.

Mr Ducasse, who has won a total of 14 Michelin stars, was also on hand yesterday to give more details on plans for the IR. These include conceptualising between 40 and 50 F&B outlets that will offer fare ranging from street food to haute cuisine at a signature restaurant to be called Ducasse at Orchid Island.

Mr Ducasse said that haute cuisine would only make up a small part of Eighth Wonder's F&B offering, and he would be catering to the majority of visitors at the IR.

The kitchens will produce 45,000 to 65,000 meals a day and he estimates that a meal could cost anywhere between eight and 400 euros (S$15 to S$788). Sensitive to the fact that visitors to the IR are likely to be from Asia, Mr Ducasse said: 'What is important is a global outlook. Not just hamburgers everywhere.'

At present, Mr Ducasse runs, owns, or consults for 22 restaurants, and five hotels with restaurants.

For Sentosa, he will establish his first flagship luxury hotel in Asia called Hotel Alain Ducasse. It would have about 100 rooms and would be designed by French designer Patrick Jouin.

The Alain Ducasse Cooking School would also be incorporated within this hotel, which brings Eighth Wonder's hotel count to eight, including Singapore's Banyan Tree group.

Responding to whether there would be other celebrity chefs besides himself in Eighth Wonder's line-up - Kerzner/CapitaLand has said it will bring in nine celebrity chefs - Mr Ducasse said: 'We don't need 10 super chefs because that would be at least eight too many.'

Affirming Mr Ducasse's commitment to the project, Mr Advent said: 'When Mr Ducasse puts his stamp or name on a project, it is meaningful.'

Also present at yesterday's news conference were Eighth Wonder CEO Mark Vlassopulos and honorary chairman Stephen Chen. All three are equal partners in Las Vegas-based ACV International, which is now developing a US$225 million mixed-development project in Las Vegas called East Village.