What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I have been cooking professionally for 16 years. I started off by studying in a local college, KDU, for a professional chefs course, and began my cooking career with my family business, Dave’s Deli, which incidentally is our bread and butter.
However things were not as what they seemed. 12 years in, I was going through a dry spell and I lost the motivation to cook and at the same time was going through a hard divorce.
I then decided to purchase a one way ticket to France and enrolled with Le Cordon Bleu cooking school for the Grande Diplome specializing in pastry and cuisine, hoping to find some sort of reconciliation with myself and hopefully find the drive to cook again. The move to France was the best thing I did. I was like a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge and was exposed to very passionate people in F&B. That was the turning point in my career.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
Best part of the job:
- Customer satisfaction is key. Malaysians in general are not very expressive in giving compliments, but when compliments are given. That can be very satisfying.
- At DC, the platform has been set as a very good training background for our young Malaysian chefs. It is very satisfying to see our local chefs cook at this level which automatically elevates the cooking skill in this industry.
- At DC we push on with our cuisine. It is a journey of self discovery. The discovery of how far we can push oneself. We want guests to feel our passion and dedication through the food. If those expectations are met. It can be very satisfying.
Worst part of the job:
- Dealing with guests who make last minute cancellations. Guests need to understand that a lot of detail goes into every meal – from prepping ingredients to ensuring each table setup is perfect for that seating. When we receive a cancellation it is rather disappointing.
- We always put in our best effort, but sometimes it is very difficult to satisfy everyone. This is the hardest for me to overcome. At DC we want things to be perfect all the time.
What’s your favourite meal/ drink at DC Restaurant?
Before each service, taste and validation from me is very important. This means that before every service I taste all the elements that go into all the dishes, so… after a hard service, a glass of scotch on the rocks would be just fine.
The perfect day off would be…
… all members of the team who are scheduled, come to work on time and are motivated to go go go.
A day in the life of a chef is…
… juggling with dinner reservations, sourcing quality ingredients, communicating with suppliers, keeping the team up-to-date on daily events, and hoping to have a great service every night.
What do you do for fun?
Exercise is very important in this stressful career. My wife and I normally play ping pong during our off days.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about DC Restaurant?
DC is about giving guests the satisfaction of a great dining experience in terms of great food, service and ambience.
What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
Chateau la nerthe, Chateaunuef du pape white wine paired with cured hiramasa kingfish with blood orange vinaigrette and fine herbs.
What’s your view on the food scene in Kuala Lumpur?
The dining scene in KL has it limitations in terms of ingredient availability. But we are progressing and I see a bright future ahead. As long as we continue to believe and push further.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
Pushing ahead with the cuisine. Discovering new ingredients and seeing how we can create new dishes, and… the probability of expanding another restaurant in 2017.
Lovely interview, Monica! Happy weekend, babe! xoxo