Ang Sau Xiang Pearlite Chef and Founder

Ang Sau Xiang, Chef-founder Pearlite

Ang Sau Xiang

In this interview, Ang Sau Xiang, chef and founder of Pearlite in Bukit Jalil, sheds some light on being a chef as a profession.

What do you do?

I’m the founder and head chef of Pearlite. 

How did you get into the industry?

Growing up with a culinary background gave me inspiration when I was young. My parents were the ones who inspired me to be a chef, as they operated a Chinese restaurant in Klang. Helping my parents since I was a child allowed me to learn about the life of a chef. To gain more experience and opportunities, I completed the Diploma in Culinary course at Cilantro Academy, which certified me as a professional chef. I also competed in culinary competitions such as Food & Hotel Malaysia (FHM) and Food & Hotel Thailand (FHT), for which I received silver and bronze medals. 

What food memory from your childhood or travels stands out?

Asam pedas fish stands out in my childhood memories. The reason for this is that I enjoy eating fish and food with spicy and sour flavours. In my memory, my grandma made me the best asam pedas fish that I can’t forget. Our menu at Pearlite has a dish named “Lay On The Bay.” I refined and created this dish using my grandma’s recipe for asam pedas fish.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?

The best part of my job is when guests enjoy and are satisfied with the dishes you prepare for them. Each profession is not easy; however, it touches me when I receive great feedback from guests regarding their dining experiences with us. Words can’t describe how touching it is when I receive such precious appreciation from them. All these make my day.

What’s one of your favourite food and beverage pairings?

One of my favourite pairings is the Pinky Island with our house wine, Delas Cotes Rhone Rose Saint-Esprit. The Pinky Island keeps every visitor’s mystery while they enjoy themselves. Scallops are served as a side dish, and the main focus of this dish is to enhance umami flavours. This is the top one, as the presentation of it is amazing, with a mixture of red and pink. Our house wine has a sweet and fruity flavour, which is a perfect combination.

What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?

As a chef, one of the craziest things I have seen in my career is when a guest has food allergies to more than 30 items. Wow, that’s really the craziest. This situation gave us all a headache as many dishes on the menu could not be served to the guest. However, we cannot chase him or her out of the restaurant right now. So, we immediately come out with a new menu that suits them. To me, this is the craziest memory that I can’t forget.

The perfect day off would be… 

It would be adventurous to hunt for newly opened restaurants around the city to try out their dishes. This gives me inspiration when it comes to menu design.

A day in the life of Ang Sau Xiang is…

As a founder, I handle daily paperwork and work closely with my personal assistant and other departments, including PR and finance, to ensure everything goes well and is handled well, including social media posts. A daily session occurs to brief on guest feedback or complaints. As a head chef, I oversee the restaurant’s daily operation to ensure that my staff completes assigned tasks correctly and receives the necessary training to ensure a smooth operation. I brainstorm and create a new menu every three months to attract the public’s attention. Besides, explanations for each dish are given by me, where I will explain the details and origin of each dish and, at the same time, interact with the guests.

What does Ang Sau Xiang do for fun?

Definitely spending my time on Chinese drum. It is one of the activities that I have been participating in since I was young. Even though I’m Pearlite’s founder and head chef, I still spend time on it after work or on weekends.

What’s something you’d like guests to know about Pearlite?

The intention of establishing Pearlite – to me, food is an art, and the culinary process is a performance. I want all the guests to enjoy the food and this performance while dining with Pearlite. 

How has the pandemic changed your perspective or the way you operate?

I believe sudden crises such as the global pandemic hit each industry, including Pearlite. 

What do you want people to know about being a head chef as a profession?

The founder and head chef is the most important person in a restaurant. They can motivate employees to perform better and simultaneously satisfy the in-house guests. Food preparation, menu design, and cooking are some of the duties in this profession. Not only that, anyone in this profession needs to assign tasks to all the employees and supervise them in preparing and presenting food to avoid unnecessary mistakes. Maintaining control of the kitchen is included to ensure all the tasks are carried out efficiently and effectively.

What’s your view on the food service industry scene in Kuala Lumpur?

There is undoubtedly competition among competitors in the industry. As our restaurant is situated in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, there’s a huge competition, and we can see nowadays that more and more restaurants are opening up in the city. In Bukit Jalil, seven fine dining restaurants provide similar service and cuisine. This puts us under pressure, as we must provide high-quality food and service to attract a broader audience base.

What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement to work towards social responsibility and sustainability in the future?

The most important aspect of remaining sustainable, particularly in the food service industry, is reducing food waste. Reducing unnecessary wastage helps to prevent pollution and protect the environment. In Pearlite, we practice sustainability by fully utilising the ingredients we receive without discarding them. Besides that, we practice booking the ingredients from our suppliers once a week and do inventory checks to avoid exceeding the number of ingredients required. 

What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?

As we change our menu once every three months, guests can look forward to more surprises and try unique dishes created by the team with different cuisine combinations.

Read more interviews like this one with Ang Sau Xiang here, and stay up to date with the latest food and beverage happenings in KL here.

One Comment

  1. Runs in the family, sure can’t beat that. Pretty impressive track record too. Keep it up!

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