Chef Mike Pravin
In this interview, chef Mike Pravin from The Fire Grill in TTDI, shares some stories from behind the scenes and some of the work the restaurant team has been doing during the MCO.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am the head chef at The Fire Grill, a contemporary Asian-inspired grill restaurant. I’ve been in the industry for the past 29 years. I started off funnily enough as a deejay at a new club at that time called Ziggy’s. It was owned by the Hanuman Group, and since I spoke good English, the Australian executive chef back then asked me to join kitchen as he had communication problems with the kitchen staff. That’s how it all started, I ended up doing two jobs at the same time, and at the same place.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
I was in Ziggy’s doing two jobs. And I loved to drink beer when I was tired, after a long day. This happened every day. I drank so regularly that my then bosses, Jerry & Jimmy Shu decided to put a tap of draught beer in the kitchen just for me. I guess I was the first chef in Malaysia to have this privilege.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of my job is just cooking. I love cooking for people, either at the restaurant or even at home. The worst part of my job is after cooking something that I think is really nice, if I get even one person saying something bad about it, this tends to upset me very much.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
I love whisky, and sometimes I like to pair it with an Indian lamb varuval. I also love a Long Island Iced Tea and drinking it with some siew yoke (Chinese styled roasted pork) is the best.
What’s one of the scariest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
A long time ago, my butcher, who was a mute, accidentally chopped off his thumb. And we all couldn’t hear him screaming!
The perfect day off would be…
Half of the day I’d spend with my wife and young sons, and after 5 pm, I’d have a few drinks with my friends.
A day in the life of a chef Mike Pravin is…
Coming in early. Making sure all staff are in on time. Getting preparation work done. Receiving supplies and making sure they arrive on time. Getting ready for lunch and dinner. Cooking with love and seeing happy customers.
What do you do for fun?
I play pool. I dabble with photography and enjoy a good whisky.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about The Fire Grill?
I want guests to know and appreciate the thoughtful food here, and our exceptional service. The Fire Grill is unique because we truly work as a family, and everyone, from the owner to the steward understands how important it is to give our best to the customer. We treat every customer as we would a guest in our own home. That’s the experience you will get at The Fire Grill.
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a chef as a profession?
You need a passion for food, cooking, and people. Then only you should take it up as a profession.
What’s your view on the food scene in KL?
I feel that 80% of the restaurants in KL serve the same food. It would be helpful for people to try new food, be it fusion or a home-cooked authentic style restaurant. People need to explore new styles and new tastes at prices that are not too crazy. This would be interesting in KL.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
Currently, my team and I, at The Fire Grill are preparing 250-400 meals daily, for hospitals, police stations, orphanages, refugee camps, old folks home, special needs children homes, and other front-liners around KL. We have raised over RM40,000.00 to prepare over 6000 meals during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. All of us at The Fire Grill think that now is the time to give back to our community. Immediately after the MCO, business will be tough for everyone. But for sure, I’ll be glad to see all our regulars as well as new faces at The Fire Grill. We will be eagerly waiting to serve you.