Headline: Full measure of hard work
Intro: I'm comfortable with my background in classic French.
Born? Johore, South Malaysia.
Education? 28 years ago when I trained at Intercontinental, Sydney. I arrived in Australia with a healthy knowledge of authentic Asian cuisine with classic training in European and French and Japanese cooking.
Best kitchens worked? Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Sofitel. The Summit Restaurant and revamping concept with the late Anders Ausback, together, we changed place from a tourist restaurant to what it is today. Singapore Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, to cater for APEC 2009 and Youth Olympic Games 2010.
Congratulations, your casual dining restaurant has acclaimed a hat? Hamish and Joss did a good job at The Woods, accolade goes to the team for working so hard.
What keeps you going? Staying abreast of the changing lifestyle and diverse cuisines available in Australia.
Advice to future young chefs? Don’t go into a kitchen where they open up a box or a frozen packet. You need to work with produce first. Peel your own potatoes and onions first and work with frozen when you become a senior chef. Also you can train a waiter in two weeks, but this cannot happen with a chef.
Early influences? Michel Roux and Joseph Chatel (70 years old) he taught me so much about what I know today with technical skills especially and with about cheese. How to handle it, taste it, eat it. I’ve had some cheeses that are not for the faint hearted, but so satisfyingly good.
On working as an Executive Chef? No matter what your age is, you still need to keep cooking. 20% of what I do here is cooking. Sometimes you get lost in menu creating. You sometimes forget what it tastes like and what the diners are tasting. If you always have good chefs around, you don’t need to travel.
How can we keep attracting chefs into the food world? Training more chefs. I enjoy training chefs immensely. You need to throw them into the deep end at an early age. There is not much any chef around here cannot do. When you come across a young chef who wants a challenge and he is feisty, not much character and his food is boring. I like to promote pride and accepting criticism in a chef. Some chefs work like they are factory orientated and they watch tv. You need to read!