In this interview, chef and co-partner of Lush Café, Ami Siow, tells how the pandemic sped up their plans for opening and ideas for the future.
What do you do?
I am an entrepreneur who owns part of Lush Café and runs it. We considered this concept of having a beauty salon with an integrated café from the start of the beauty salon business.
How did you get into the industry?
I was in the manpower supply industry and was involved in operating an F&B outlet promoting Malaysian food in Myanmar. This stirred my love for food since I was involved in the food industry.
Share with us a story from behind the scenes.
I grew up in a happy family where my father was a contractor, and my mother was a hawker. They went to heaven in 2015 and 2016, and I needed some time to recover from my loss. After that, I ran a café in Myanmar to share Malaysian food with people who miss Malaysian food. Nasi Lemak, Curry Laksa and Fried Koay Teow were comfort foods for Myanmarist for family gatherings and celebrations.
What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?
My mum’s food was the best, and she was the most important person in my life. Street food in Paris that captured my memory was a crepe with cheese. It was a simple recipe that was truly memorable.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part is when I receive a customer’s response saying – “I love every bite!”. The worst part is long hours of standing all the time in the kitchen – just like all working in the F&B industry.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
Nasi lemak with double espresso, bringing out the full taste of sweet, sour, bitter and spiciness.
What’s a memorable moment from behind the scenes?
“Ratatouille” – we make the best tasting bagels out of the most basic ingredients!
The perfect day off would be…
… having a wonderful brunch, chilling at a good pet-friendly coffee place with my pet Buddy and spending time with family.
A day in the life of Ami Siow is…
… preparing bagels and coffee with passion and ensuring all customers are happy.
What does Ami Siow do for fun?
I enjoy cooking for family and friends. They are my life supports and energy providers.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Lush Café?
Lush is for life and hand-made food with love.
How has the pandemic changed you, your perspective, or the way you operate?
We conceptualised a beauty salon with a café. However, the pandemic sped up the rolling out of the café business.
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a chef as a profession?
No matter how tired or troubled I am, I start my day with lots of passion and love to prepare great food and drinks.
What’s your view on the beauty and café scene in KL?
It is a rare concept to marry beauty and the café industry under one roof. This concept will bring in combined enjoyment of beauty, relaxation and food/beverage enjoyment.
How has the pandemic changed you as a person?
It has prompted me to think out of the box. It turned me into a brave person and made me launch the beauty and café business much earlier than planned.
How has the pandemic changed you as a chef?
The pandemic has changed me as a chef by bringing comfort food to homes – bagels and coffee!
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
I will be bringing more and more comfort to your home! We are working on a series of new comfort food soon! Stay tuned!