Cyrus Ahmad Shukri
In this interview, Cyrus Ahmad Shukri, Head Chef of Happy Stan Bistro, tells how the pandemic has changed him both as a person and as a chef.
What do you do?
I am a chef during operation time, a boxer during my off days.
How did you get into the industry?
I’ve been in love with food services since I was a kid. Putting up a smile and making people happy has always been my passion. Being a fat kid back then, my love for food is undeniable, and I’ve decided to set my dream to be a chef one day. And here I am, living in my dream. I put my first step in Istana Hotel as a commis in 2008. I slowly jumped into a few cafes, restaurants, and now a bistro for experiences and valuable lessons that made me the person I am today.
Share with us a story from behind the scenes.
I have this habit of talking to myself. Sometimes I even tell jokes to myself too… Although it sounds weird, it actually helps me to prepare myself mentally for any kind of situation. It’s kind of giving some pep talk, from yourself to yourself. It gives me some confidence boost before doing something big, for example, serving a full-service dinner. It helps me out and eventually makes things seem to be easier.
What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?
When I was six or seven years old, my family brought me to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. I remember vividly the memory of the red tablecloth spread on their round table. And one thing that I remember the most is their sizzling Japanese tofu, which ’till today the memory still lingers on how comforting the dish was.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of my job is turning my ideas and imaginations and crafting them into a work-of-art of a dish.
And the worst part is… oh I can’t think of any.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
A perfect fish and chip with ice lemonade on a hot sunny day.
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
My colleague and I once saw a mouse running on the floor, and all of us tried to chase it but couldn’t. What I did was I smashed the mouse using a pan which was on my hand at that time. Long story short, we throw out the pan straight away and never use it again!
The perfect day off would be…
Having a nice cup of espresso at my favourite coffee shop nearby my house and strolling around for good food, and boxing in between or right after.
A day in the life of a chef is…
Cardio, fun and full of excitement.
What does Cyrus Ahmad Shukri do for fun?
Well, I enjoy boxing so much, and I believe the only fun that I can think of right now is me transferring some kind of power to that huge punching bag. Feels good!
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Happy Stan?
Our food is from our heart and our soul. We choose to serve Asian food because it is something that everyone is comfortable with, and we want to touch their soul with our food. Hence we came out with a mixture of both authentic and fusion methods and flavours, combining them into one plate. That is what we are trying to achieve in Happy Stan.
How has the pandemic changed you, your perspective or the way you operate?
Well, it kind of sucks, but it’s nice to see a lot of people still working so hard, especially my fellow chef friends who always came out with something nice and new ideas during this period and try to sell it. It’s kind of interesting, and it’s something that I also learn from it as well in terms of ideas and way to sell it. It’s just nice to see the energy from them, you know who u are peeps, good job!
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a chef as a profession?
Everyone in this world can cook, including my little niece. But not everyone can run a kitchen/restaurant business. There are billions of tongues with different taste buds here in this world, but how can you make sure that everyone will love your food? Always be humble, sincere and true to yourself.
What’s your view on the food/drink scene in KL?
Slowly but surely, I’m happy to see our scene growing. Lots of new cafes, bistros and restaurants are offering good stuff. Love it.
How has the pandemic changed Cyrus Ahmad Shukri as a person?
As a person, I’m healthier and mentally stronger than ever. Just don’t let all this negativity drag you down. When you think about it, life has a lot more to offer. So be positive.
How has the pandemic changed you as a chef?
As a chef, you have to be very flexible at this time. This is when you have to be extra creative and reasonable as well. And that pretty much changed me in a very good way, ROCK AND ROLL! It is what it is!