Sam Neoh, Botanica+Co

Interview with Chef Sam Neoh, Botanica+Co, Kuala Lumpur

What do you do and how did you get into the industry? 

I’m a corporate chef at Botanica+Co.

Having been in this industry for about 20 years now, I must say that I really do take a lot of pride in what I do, and I have to thank my mother for inspiring me to take on this profession since I was a little boy. My mother used to be a hawker owning a stall selling local delights, and as a little boy, I used to follow her as she went about her daily work. I was fascinated by the way she prepared food at the stall, the way she sliced chilli and pounded herbs and spices in the mortar… even the way she plated every bowl of noodles with that little garnishing on top… it was done with so much pride that it inspired me to want to be a cook. I knew that cooking was something that really drew my interest and attention.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job? 

Best part: Being able to constantly be exposed to all varieties and different types of ingredients that come from different parts of the world. It pushes me to continuously explore new tastes, textures and styles in creating new dishes. I think that exposure always allow chefs of different levels to keep pushing the boundaries in the culinary aspect.

Worst part: This has to be something personal. Being a chef is a very time consuming career and you end up having to sacrifice time with your family. I spend a lot of time at work… it would be nice if I could have more of that with my family.

What’s your favourite meal at Botanica? 

My favourite foods at Botanica are the Superfood Salad and Sam’s Crayfish Laksa. I’m actually a very health conscious person. My Superfood Salad is a green bowl packed with powerful nutrients and is a clean meal, yet it is still as appetising and as satisfying as a sinful meal. Sam’s Crayfish Laksa is the other favourite food of mine… essentially I watched my mother prepare laksa as a little boy, and so I do take a lot of pride in creating this particular dish. I have to love it.

The perfect day off would be… 

… a morning work out in the gym, a good brunch, a pampering session (facial or mani/pedicure)… a good rest at home and dinner with my family.

A day in the life of a chef  is… 

… a packed schedule.

What do you do for fun?

I like big motorbikes. Once in a while when I have time for break, I do enjoy solo motorcycle touring.

What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?

From late November onwards, we will be starting our food delivery service via FoodPanda. You can now order selected items with our delivery menu and enjoy the food in the comforts of your home/desk.

Also in November, Botanica Deli will introduce our weekend brunch so that fans of Botanica can now have another outlet to have brunch in. The brunch menu will be more casual compared to that of Botanica+Co, but in a more fun and casual environment.

Also from November onwards, we will be serving waffles with ice cream at the Deli on weekday evenings. There are still some details to be firmed up, but you may expect to be able to wind down the day with your pals with some beers and sweet treats in a funky casual ambience.

Starting December 1 in Botanica+Co we will introduce a special Christmas  menu.

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  1. Very nice interview. He sounds very passionate about what he is doing, and the fact that he is very health conscious is a plus, as he is definitely in the right field!

  2. Hello, great interview! Thanks for sharing. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  3. Great interview… His idea of a perfect day off is fabulous… I’m looking forward to seeing his Christmas menu here 🙂

  4. I’m proud of you Sam Neoh.
    You are the best.

  5. Way to go Sam. Your culinary skills deserved the highest compliments from me.

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