Gerald Chong – Executive Chef
In this interview, Gerald Chong, Executive Chef of Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, tells of his early passion for cooking and upcoming plans for the hotel kitchens.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I learned cooking from my mother at a very young age. I began with peeling onions and garlic at home. I looked up to my elder siblings, who are both very successful chefs at renowned restaurants. Once I graduated from my secondary school, I enrolled in a culinary course. Without a doubt, I had a strong passion and high hopes that I would be a great chef too.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
There was one time during the Chinese New Year festive period, where we ordered 10kg of live escargots and about 55kg of mud crabs. When we were away for a short lunch break, I received a call from the executive chef that the live seafood was crawling all over the cooking stations and walls. That was insane!
What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?
It would definitely be my mother’s Kerabu Jantung Pisang and Pecal – a traditional Indonesian salad consisting of mixed vegetables and compressed rice cakes in a peanut sauce dressing.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
Kaya toast with soft-boiled egg + Ice-cold coffee
Chips + Coconut water with Gin
What’s one of the wildest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
Cooking and plating 45 metres above the ground for ‘Dinner in the Sky’.
The perfect day off for Gerald Chong would be…
Relaxing and re-energizing by the beach (with an ice-cold beer in my hand too, for sure!)
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a chef as a profession?
It’s never easy to be a chef or any other profession that requires a large set of skills. Being a chef nowadays includes long hours at work and working on your feet and having the ability to understand every product, fundamentals basics of cooking, plating, and combining different flavours and ingredients. Mistakes do happen, and we must learn from it with an open and humble heart.
What’s your view on the food/drink scene in KL?
I believe the food/drink scene in Kuala Lumpur is getting very competitive. More Malaysians are keen to explore exciting new places, focusing on regional food traditions that rely on multiple cultures and different innovation on local cuisines for their ever-evolving taste buds.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
I can’t wait to get things back to normal and return to getting busy as usual. I am continually working on innovating different dishes and exciting food campaigns to offer multisensory culinary experiences for guests. Can’t wait for things to get back to normal and the day where dining in is allowed again.