Chew Jon Kin otherwise known as Jon Chew, owner of Soul Kitchen KL, tells of his journey in becoming a restaurateur.
What do you do?
I am a Les Mills Body Combat international trainer, presenter and instructor. Aside from that, I also create workout programs and develop instructors for various fitness centres throughout South East Asia. I am a food lover of all types of cuisine, which takes me to my current role as co-owner of Soul Kitchen.
How did you get into the industry?
Food has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I realised that aside from being a fitness person, I needed to start something representing my passion for food. So after many years of playing with the idea of owning a restaurant that serves my passion for food, I threw caution into the wind and kicked off Soul Kitchen.
What is the philosophy behind your work?
Passion keeps us going. Consistency delivers the results. This is my fundamental belief and what I have been practising till today.
What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?
From my childhood days, my mother’s cooking was my first love. Since I love travelling, I love to sample every country’s food specialty. Through this combination, my passion for food grew.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
In the fitness arena, the best part is always seeing my trainees rising above their capabilities and shining above everyone else. The worse is sustaining injuries over the course of time and being unable to perform at my best
In the food business, it is creating new dishes and watching my customers enjoying their meals. The worst part is the fear of catching the virus unintentionally and having it affect the business.
Jon Chew’s favourite food and beverage pairing?
There are no favourites or specifics, actually. Food that is prepared with love and patience is perhaps the best type of pairing for me – of course not to forget a good glass of wine to complement the meal.
What’s one of the wildest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
Having the best dreams about the best dish I have ever created – and waking up in the middle of the night with the urge to cook – only to realise when I make it into a reality, it is the best that I have ever created to date. (Watch out for this particular dish, coming soon)
The perfect day off would be…
Starting it off with a good workout session and ending it with a day well spent with friends and family with a glass of red wine and quality time.
A day in the life of a restaurant owner…
…a daily learning process, no doubt tiring but definitely satisfying when I lay down for my rest at the end of the day.
What does Jon Chew do for fun?
Apart from fitness and food, I am also an avid wine lover and collector – so researching, studying and reading up about wines from all over the world is definitely my fun thing to do
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Soul Kitchen?
Soul Kitchen is conceptualised in bringing to the diners creative meals with fusion in mind. These fusions are inspired by the countries that I have travelled to and lived in. All our meals are created with soul and passion.
How has the pandemic changed you, your perspective, or the way you operate?
It has forced me to think out of the box. While we cannot change the situation we are in – we learn to adapt the way we think and how to operate our business during the pandemic. For example, we innovate our meals for delivery so that our customers do not lose the dining experience or the quality of our meals when it reaches them at home.
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a business owner as a profession?
As a business owner, it is not about sitting behind the counter and collecting the daily sales. It is about getting our hands dirty together with the team so that we can lead by example. As they say, if you want to talk the talk, make sure you too walk the walk.
What’s your view on the food scene in KL?
As essential as it is, and it is something we all need to have, it is good to constantly keep the food evolving and creative to keep the people excited and wanting to try you out all the time.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
Our mission is to continually evolve and create new things. As we move on, we will be launching more and more items on our menu to keep our customers coming back for more of Soul Kitchen.