Updated: Jun 30, 2020
My advice to any young chef is to not restrict yourself to any style and be confident in serving dishes that you’re fully invested with.
A Brief introduction on your career
It has been an amazing passionate long journey! And my first step in this wondrous industry we call simply food and beverage (coffee for me!) has never burned brighter. Writing this brought back memories of my university days in London and tasting all the dainty goodies that the little laneways of smaller towns in UK offered.
Not long after my studies, I came back to Malaysia and decided that I would embark on a culinary adventure that has taken me from private home cooking and opportunities to have owned a food franchise, restaurant, MAS chef-on-call, cafes and now my baby bakery. Life has come full circle as I embark on my latest adventure with Little Allegra Bakery which has reinvigorated my passion for unorthodox creative baking and making good coffee for people to enjoy and discover.
What are the 3 things you can’t live without in the kitchen?
KitchenAid, eggs and lots of this and that. No such thing as 3 things!
Was there anything that you thought you wanted to do before you started cooking?
Fashion! Growing up in UK, I was lucky to be exposed to a new culture and quirky but yet artistic elements which I believe helped shaped my mindset when creating new designer food and menus too. I managed to do the catwalk bit but not pen-to paper though.
What is your most interesting or fun experience from your time in the restaurant
To always challenge myself and be innovative. Being in a small town like Ipoh, it was difficult to source exotic produce but it would always excite me when suppliers were able to showcase their new offerings to me to test out in the kitchen! Not to compromise in ingredients has been traditional to me. Even my fresh mix salads cones weekly air-flown from Melbourne. Coffee beans too.
Creating and designing my boutique hotel was an adventure. Truly fun and interesting.
What was the best meal you have ever had? And Where?
Arzak in San Sebastián, Spain
How have your desserts evolved over the years, and which chefs have had the most influence on you?
As an accidental chef, I would always seek new trends throughout the world as it is important to learn new techniques, taste new ingredients and spark new creations. In recent travels to Korea and Japan, I have been amazed at how delicate and meticulous that the younger pastry chefs are with their desserts and I was able to learn new fruit infusions and pastry textures
You're hosting a dinner party for six close friends or family - what will you serve?
Most probably a long table of endless new creations.
Is there a childhood comfort food that you think about?
I grew up with 11 other siblings but my parents made sure we had fish (I loved the steam version!) and we would fight over the best bits all the time. Believe me, being slow to pick was never an option at the dinner table in my family!.
In your mind, what's the dumbest thing you've ever done in the kitchen?
There’s no escaping this but I am sure it is quite common in the world! But adding salt (lots of it) instead of sugar for a large order of brownies would definitely be up there in the bloopers book.
How long did it take to develop your own style of cooking, and what advice would you offer to young chefs looking to develop theirs?
I am still learning my own style! So much to experiment. I am crazy over sourdough at the moment ... trying out different flour for taste and texture. But if there was a category for it then I’d say - adaptive cooking. My advice to any young chef is to not restrict yourself to any style and be confident in serving dishes that you’re fully invested with. Keep innovating and learning new skills! This is an endless life experimentation. Enjoy it all to the fullest.
Lastly, what is your idea of happiness?
Good health, staying passionate for what I believe in, family, good friends and to keep baking, have good lattes daily and hope that everyone would enjoy what I produce.