76YO PhD Holder Becomes a Hawker Due to His Passion for Cooking


While getting a PhD is already an incredibly commendable achievement for most of us, it seems like this 76-year-old PhD holder didn’t just stop there.

Instead, Dr Vic Lee, known as “Dr Vic” to those around him, has recently added a new job title to his impressive resume: a hawker at Peace Thai Cuisine, a stall located at Hong Lim Market & Food Centre.

And he has even moved out to a hostel where he shares a room with seven other roommates, just because the hostel is near his new workplace.

Peace Thai Cuisine, which opened just two weeks ago, sells various Thai dishes such as Beef Boat Noodles and Thai Basil Chicken.


Received PhD at 54 Years Old, Fell in Love With Cooking While Studying Abroad

When speaking to Shin Min Daily News yesterday (2 August), Dr Vic shared that he worked as a regional salesperson for automotive brands for almost two decades in the past before taking on the role of a service quality consultant at Singapore Airlines for seven years after that.

In 2000, he chose to resign from his job at the age of 54 in order to study at the University of Western Australia, graduating with a PhD in Business Administration.

While studying overseas, Dr Vic discovered his passion for cooking, especially through immersing himself in the different and unique cultures and cuisines that he was exposed to.

He recalled how such experiences piqued his interest in learning more about cooking, which prompted him to apply for a year-long course at the Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre (SHATEC) when he came back to Singapore in 2006.

He attained a diploma in Western cuisine at the age of 60, and started working as a private chef for various occasions.

Despite his background in Western cooking, he chose to take up a job as a chef at Peace Japanese Cuisine, allowing him to meet Mr Simon Ng, the owner of both Peace Japanese Cuisine and Peace Thai Cuisine.

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Initially Started Off as a Waiter

Mr Ng recalled how he recognised Dr Vic’s passion towards cooking, but also realised that he did not have any experience in cooking Japanese cuisine. As a result, Dr Vic started working in the restaurant as a waiter at first.

However, Mr Ng was soon impressed by Dr Vic’s ability and willingness to learn, and soon promoted Dr Vic to the role of Assistant Chef.

Mr Ng also told Shin Min about how Dr Vic not only strives to provide patrons with good food, but also places a heavy emphasis on customer service.

Hence, when he chose to open up a stall to sell Thai food, Mr Ng immediately thought of asking Dr Vic if he would be interested in a partnership.


Mr Ng also entrusted Dr Vic with the stall, and expressed his confidence in Dr Vic’s abilities to run the store as well.

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