Sunday, 19 June 2011

My Most Favourite Chef ^_^

 That best describes Chef Wan or Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, the professional chef, television host, food critic, author, actor, entrepreneur, cultural ambassador and motivational speaker.
Personal life
In an interview in February 2010, Chef Wan highlighted that he is of mixed ancestry; his father has Riau Malay and Javanese ancestry while his mother is of Nyonya and Japanese descent Chef Wan has two children, one of whom is Serina Redzuawan, an actress who has appeared in several Malaysian drama series. Chef Wan's son, Muhammad Nazri bin Redzuawan, is following in his father's footsteps by becoming a chef as well.
His early career was as an accountant. He says after seeing the popularity of many types of Asian food in Western countries he decided to promote Malaysia and other South East Asian countries using their food.
He has an associate degree in Professional Chef Training and Hotel Management from the California Culinary Academy and a Ritz Escoffeir Diploma from the Ritz Hotel. He is currently a brand ambassador for AirAsia.
In 2009, he won the Best Celebrity Television Chef of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  He also the Asian Food Channel (AFC)’s resident chef. At 52, he has hosted a string of international TV shows, and is still tirelessly putting Malaysian cuisine and the country in the international spotlight. In his new series Best Wan, which debuts on AFC in June 2010, Chef Wan travels around Malaysia sampling and cooking food from the different regions while delving into local history and culture. He’s very proud of the fact that the director of Best Wan also worked on Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef and Nigella Lawson’s cooking shows.

Interview 1
“Chatty Chef” compiled by Grace Chin, 
Credit to : The Star Online

What’s your favourite street food?
  • Satay from Haji Samuri in Kajang at a shoplot near the Sungai Buloh flyover. 
  • Char Koay Teow from the stall next to Uncle Don’s in Sri Hartamas. 
  • Nasi lemak from a stall at the end of Nan’s Corner in Ampang Jaya. 
  • Roti canai from Nan’s Corner
Favourite drink?
Ice lemon tea, carrot and apple juice.
Favourite desserts?
I am not much of a dessert person as I have to watch my sugar intake. Diabetes runs in my family. I usually go for fruits like rambutan, papaya, watermelon and pineapple. But once in a while, I will indulge in my favourite kuih like seri muka and kuih koci.
How frequently do you go for your favourite street food?
I have food from the stalls at least once a week. Sometimes, you just don’t want to cook for one and besides, I don’t think I can make a char koay teow as good as theirs.
Which is your top favourite food and why?
A plate of char koay teow with crunchy beansprouts and extra cockles! It reminds me of the time when I was five or six and my late grandfather used to take me to his favourite kway teow stall in Geylang, Singapore.
What kind of food do you dislike?
I stay away from greasy food and I don’t like dishes with too much spice or cili padi. I also stay away from food that has been sitting in the serving trays for too long as these are hotbeds for bacteria to multiply. Having travelled extensively over the last two years, I have also tried some unusual things. One was a fat maggot which is known as the Wichita grub when I was with the Aborigines at Alice Springs in Australia. It was creamy and tasted like pus. I have also heard of this dish called ‘balut’ which is actually boiled eggs with the embryo inside. I can safely say that I won’t eat that even if you gave me a thousand dollars.
Do you binge or have comfort food? When and where?
I used to do things like finish a whole box of chocolates by myself when I was younger but now at 51, I have to watch what I eat. Still I do give in to chocolate bars with raisins and hazelnuts. I keep them in a drawer beside my bed so I can reach out for them when I am watching TV.
How do you spend your Sundays?
Sundays are spent at my country house where I do a lot of gardening. When I am in Kuala Lumpur I love going for dim sum brunches with family and friends.
Favourite shopping mall/pasar malam/flea market?
The Pavilion because I do all my entertaining there.
Is there a street food that you have been hoping to try out recommended by friends? Where?
I would like to explore the street food in India. That would be interesting as the cuisine differs from one region to another.

Interview 2
“Selling ice to Eskimos” by Deborah Loh, 
Credit to: TheNutGraph

In an interview on 13 Jan 2010 at his home in Kuala Lumpur, the Singapore-born Chef Wan tells The Nut Graph about the beginnings of his creative and entrepreneurial streaks as the eldest of seven children.
Can you trace your ancestry?
My maternal grandmother was Peranakan from Singapore. My great-grandfather was Japanese. He came to Singapore during World War II.
My father’s side is Indonesian. My great-grandfather came from Pulau Bengkalis, and my great-grandmother is Javanese. My dad’s family settled in Malacca.
My parents married in 1957. My dad was working in the [British] Royal Air Force in Singapore, and my mother was also working there at the Naafi [Navy, Army and Air Force Institute], the shop at the air force base which sold all kinds of British goods.
I was three when we moved to Kuala Lumpur. My father joined the Royal Malaysian Air Force and we lived at the Sungai Besi base.
I’m blessed to have a family where one side has Chinese blood from Singapore. On holidays there as a child, I enjoyed the modernity of the city. On my father’s side in Malacca, I could enjoy the Malay kampung environment.
What is your favourite childhood memory?
Selling kuih on the air force base. My father was a lance corporal earning 160 ringgit a month with seven children to raise. To earn more money, my mother made nyonya kuih and I would help her sell it.
At age seven, I went all over the barracks selling kuih. And believe me, I can sell ice to Eskimos. I had many competitors, anak-anak askar lain yang jual kuih, but mine was the best and always sold quickly. Because I had good PR with everyone. I was almost like a butler to some of them. I also helped them to wash clothes, shine their shoes, or buy cigarettes for the abang-abang askar. They would give me five or 10 sen for running an errand.
What kind of Malaysia would you want for yourself and future generations?
I like a society that is hardworking, full of talented people who challenge themselves. People who love the country and who want to create a more loving and caring society. If we lose our culture, we lose our bangsa and negara. When you lose your foundations, other powers will come in. That’s why the country cannot be a country where everybody only thinks for themselves. It has to be a country where everything is fair.
I want everybody to be the same because we call ourselves Malaysian. There is no such thing about a superpower race because we are one country. Akan datang, kalau prime minister Cina, Cinalah. Kalau India, Indialah. The public decides. For me it’s simple, the best individual wins. If you are lousy, we bring you down. If you are corrupted, we bring you down. Because we’re not stupid anymore. 
More info about Chef Wan, visit his official website

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