18 November 2014

10 Things I Want To Achieve As A Chef In 2015


Being a chef is a never-ending learning process. Even if you've made it to the top. So along the way, one must be ready to adapt and take on new challenges. After all, whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Even the best ingredients mean jack-shit if you don't want to keep on learning.

Here's what I want to achieve next year, Insya-Allah.

  1. Do more baking and pastry. It's a sore point for me that I should really start working on. I need to master all trades of the culinary arts.
  2. At the same time, do more Malaysian cooking: Chinese, Malay, Indian, Nyonya etc. It's great to be able to cook French-style. However I would love to re-learn and gain expertise in the roots of my Asian taste palate because it will influence how and what I cook.
  3. Indulge in a bit of haute and nouvelle cuisine. I adore it, still want to do it, and I have too many ideas on recipes and plating but never the time or inclination to put it to plate.
  4. Improve all my theoretical, technical and practical skills and knowledge. Do more butchery; knife skills, piping etc.
  5. Dine out more in chef-driven restaurants. I need to know what's out there so I can equal or surpass their standards.
  6. Use more local produce in my recipes. There's a shit-load of good stuff out there that doesn't require air-flown fuckall and won't cost me a bomb to use.
  7. Re-built my tool-box. I've lost too many knives and tools.
  8. Read more books about life in the professional kitchen.
  9. Write more on professional cooking and how it would help the domestic cook. Write everything and anything about cooking: recipes, tips, anecdotes, experiences.
  10. And my ultimate goal: I WANT TO FUCKING WIN A GOLD MEDAL.
Fortune favors the bold.

23 October 2014

Stop Mocking Chefs


Every so often I see, hear or witness people mocking chefs, restaurants and the food they get there. Now I don't mind legitimate complaints especially if it has to do with the quality (note: QUALITY) of food and service.

But I've seen and heard too many people mocking chefs and chef-driven or prepared food. They mock the portions (even though they order starters, mains, side dishes AND dessert AND God knows how many drinks) as being 'tiny and not filling' or they mock the presentation skills of the chef, or they claim they either make it themselves and not pay the chef or they shouldn't have paid a certain amount for that food.

Please lah. If everyone can do what chefs do, there wouldn't be shows like Masterchef (eleh korang tengok kan pastu teruja kan) or Top Chef. Celebrity chefs wouldn't exist. Good food, revolutionary food and innovation in food wouldn't exist.

Sea scallops, Bell-Pepper Sauce, Ikura, Mesclun Mix, Calamansi-Gula Melaka Vinaigrette. One of my signature dishes.

Stop mocking chefs. Of all kinds.

Like with any profession we go through years, YEARS of training and learning and fucking up and falling down and learning again to be where we are or where we want to be. Stop mocking the culinary arts profession as if it's 'lowly'. Half of you couldn't do what we could do on a daily basis. Stop questioning why the food is priced that way: reality check, you're not just paying for the food. You're paying for the experience, the skill, the service, the damn rental and overheads of the place. Ingat Chef ni tak payah untung ke? 

Let's put it this way lah: when you need to give your kid an innoculation shot, or you need to have that weird boil on your back checked out, do you go to the doctor or the drug addict on the street? When your car breaks down would you rather a trained mechanic or some hobo come and fix your car?

I am most definitely worth it. Harumph.


06 October 2014

Respect Food


If you ever get the chance, do watch first hand how an animal gets slaughtered. It doesn't matter if it was the halal method, the shechita, a commercial gun or someone shooting an animal in the heart. Watch the animal die.
Thanks for the meat.

Because when you see it, you will develop a deeper appreciation to what you eat. You will know that a living organism gave its life for you to enjoy a good meal.

Be thankful.

Respect food. 
From seed to animal, from farm to plate.