In this interview, Chef Amelia Ng shares some crazy moments from the kitchen and gives us a look inside the life of a chef.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I first found my interest in cooking when I was studying Communications in the UK. During that time, I was often craving Malaysian food and I would cook for all my homesick university mates. I realised that cooking was always on my mind. Later, I graduated from university and decided to join Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia to realise my dream and passion as a chef.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
Often in cooking competitions, others mostly value the medals and glory. Personally, when I look at my medals and trophy, it reminds me of the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. I remember training for my competition in Germany while juggling a full-time job in the kitchen. At that time, I did not have any rest days for a good six months as I would focus on my training during my break time and off days. I barely saw my family and had missed out on a lot of gatherings. I was frequently physically and mentally exhausted. Thankfully, all my hard work and dedication paid off when I held my first cooking competition trophy.
What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?
Eating my late grandmother’s rice dumplings. All her recipes were memorised by heart and every dish served was always perfect to us. One thing my popo (grandma) loved to do is to sit and watch us eat her food. I guess that’s where I rekindled my love for cooking as I love seeing the reaction of people eating the food I make.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing the satisfaction when others enjoy my food. The worst part of my job would be the long grueling hours in the kitchen. It can be quite lonely when you start missing out special family events and milestones of your loved ones.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
In general, I LOVE all kinds of food. But if I were to pick one it would be a good Japanese meal with fresh sashimi and a nice cold Japanese beer to go with it.
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
There was one time we received a bunch of organic kale from one of our suppliers. As it was pesticide-free, the kale would normally have some baby caterpillars clinging on to it and we had to make sure that it was washed thoroughly for a few times. To our horror my colleague found a baby snake between the bunch of kale! Half the kitchen was screaming their heads off. Eventually we managed to catch the snake and thankfully no one got hurt. This incident brought pesticide-free to a whole new meaning for us!
The perfect day off for Amelia Ng would be…
My perfect day off would be sleeping in followed by grocery shopping and making dinner for my family. Occasionally, I travel back to my hometown and join my parents for some off-road cycling for fun.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about you?
I would like my guest to know that my style of cooking is not pretentious. I was trained in a way to always respect the ingredients, and I would like the ingredients to shine more in my cooking.
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a chef as a profession?
For me being a chef takes a lot of practice, dedication and patience. We do the same thing every day to achieve perfection. During the process, we are constantly on our feet for long hours honing our skills. This sometimes takes a toll on our body. However, if you love what you do all those experiences are like medals of honour on our chest.
What’s your view on the food scene in KL?
I feel that the KL food scene is growing rapidly and I’m excited to see what young creative Malaysian chefs are bringing to the table.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
Honing my craft for finer cooking techniques.
Find more interviews similar to this one with chef Amelia Ng here. And, stay up to date with the latest food and beverage happenings in KL here.
“One thing my popo (grandma) loved to do is to sit and watch us eat her food.” How very true of old folks!!!
It always amazes me how the chefs all live for the work, but I do not think I could ever put in the hours that they do. Another great post. Happy New Year and keep safe, cheers Diane
I salute all the great chefs out there. Started off with only meagre pay and having to work long gruelling hours in the hot stuffy kitchen. That’s why those without the passion will give up soon after they embark on this journey. All the best to you, Amelia!
Recently I came across a saying
“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate “. Your popo really loved you and now you you do the same with family and friends.