"The bigger the names, the higher the expectations. We try to do a family-style trattoria with Lupa, but people compare us to a three (Michelin) star restaurant - which was totally not the price point or the idea."
Batali has also recently opened two restaurants at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, where casino investments have helped lure the likes of French master Joel Robuchon, US-based Wolfgang Puck and Australia's Tetsuya Wakuda.
Even if the food is right, transplanting a chef into a new kitchen thousands of miles from home can be tricky. It is not just the menus that need to be adapted.
"In terms of having a new kitchen crew, that's a huge change for, say, a chef coming from New York," Sekhri said. "There are five different languages being spoken in the kitchen for a start."
The 28-year-old Vincent Lauria is head chef of IHM Group in Hong Kong, which operates a cluster of restaurants, including the Italian Linguini Fini in Central. He quit Batali's upscale Babbo restaurant in New York for an opportunity to work in Asia in 2009 before being approached by IHM.
"In New York it is so competitive and cutthroat. Everyone wants to be at the top, everyone wants your position. Here you have to look after people, nurture your staff as they get used to your recipes."