What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
My first real memory of food is my father’s spaghetti bolognaise. Family meals were a must and while we were used to the regular rice and dishes, so this was special. I clearly remember the orangey sauce turning a deep red hue on a slow flickering fire, the bubbling sound of the pasta water and the smell of the sharp cheese being grated onto the plate in front of me. My eyes danced, and my first bite sent some kind of shockwave through my spine. It is to me the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted. That dish piqued my interest in cooking and has lead me into this industry where I am now spearheading the kitchen at Tiki Taka.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
When you first open a new restaurant, it’s nothing new to put in 16 hours a day. So one day, my team gave me black salt from Nepal, which has some health benefits but I found the taste rather off putting. To mask the flavour they made me a health drink with yoghurt, lime, mint and green chilies and blitzed it with ice. It really did wonders to freshen me up! It was so good that it inspired me to create the Melon Mozarella Salad with all the components from the drink!
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part I believe is having the freedom to be creative, to challenge myself, and the desire to be better. I don’t have a “worst part” to my job, only lessons learnt and experiences gained. We get into this industry knowing what goes into it; the long hours, the commitment, the dedication. Missing important days, family and personal time, is part and parcel of the job. We create not for ourselves but for our audience to enjoy.
What’s your favourite meal/ drink in Tiki Taka?
Family meal has always been ingrained in me since I was little, hence at Tiki Taka I put in the same practice. My team are my family here so that is my most important and favourite meal. Everyday someone cooks, but once at the end of every month, I prepare an epic meal complete with a dessert as a thank you to them.
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
We have just been open for a little over two months now and it’s been pretty “normal” so far. I hope it remains that way.
The perfect day off would be...
Curled up at home with a good book, some pasta and wine with some music in the background.
A day in the life of a chef is…
A rollercoaster! Every day is different and unpredictable.
What do you do for fun?
I like to cook as well as experiment with new techniques, flavours and produce. I am lucky I can do “fun” for fun and professionally!
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Tiki Taka?
We would like to take guests on a global food journey without the need for you to leave Malaysia.
What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
Any good white wine with seafood.
What’s your view on the food scene in KL?
The culinary scene in Kuala Lumpur is definitely seeing a trend in fusing flavours from different cuisines. Just like us here at Tiki Taka, our take is on global flavours mixing European/ Western with Asian or creating a twist to the original version.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We have a few plans for the year end and are also looking into our first quarter of 2017 calendar to introduce more mouthwatering dishes at Tiki Taka. One of the things I am working on is creating a modernist version of my father’s spaghetti bolognaise.