Hi! I’m Jun, a chemical-engineer-turned-cook and food writer. Yup, you read right, I'm one of those millenials who threw all caution to the wind in pursuit of a career that has nothing to do with what I graduated in. Tsk tsk.
So yes, I graduated with a Master's in engineering from Cambridge, but soon after traded my CAD drawings and steam tables for a lifetime of glorious gluttony. I signed up for culinary school, worked in a couple of kitchens around the world, and am now back home in Malaysia where I cook and write about food nearly every day.
Much of my cooking is influenced by my Malaysian-Chinese heritage. Think old-school kuihs, sweaty kopitiam dishes (oh they can be so darn good!), and big bold flavours. But thanks to my engineering background, and having lived in Paris and cooked in Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, I also have a penchant for drifting off into territories yet unknown, taking inspiration from all cultures of the world and whipping up strange, experimental dishes.
I admit combining these two culinary trains of thought - traditional, Malaysian-Chinese food and experimental, cross-cultural cooking - might be a bit contentious. I mean, it does result in really odd dishes like this Milo Nutella (Mitella?) and French financiers spiked with Korean black garlic. But to me, cooking is at its most enjoyable when I break the rules a little, taking calculated culinary risks in exploring the unexplored.
So to the doubters, I urge you to try a recipe or two from the site, and perhaps you too can find joy in cooking and eating foods that are a little strange but surprising, weird but wonderful, unfamiliar yet nostalgic!
About The Blog
Far from just being just any ol’ recipe blog, I aim for this blog to have a focus on curious combinations of foods, shedding some light on little-known, underappreciated ingredients (especially ones from my Malaysian upbringing) through accessible cooking and familiar foods.
So sure, the articles and recipes on this blog might be a little unconventional, a little kooky, but I promise you three things that it'll always be.
- It'll always be focused on flavour. Sure, I can put two random ingredients together to make a dish, like chocoalate and fish sauce, say. But what's the point of doing that if it doesn't result in something that taste good? So no matter how weird the dishes I concoct might seem, know that I'll always try to make it taste pretty darn good.
- It'll always be brutally honest. If something doesn't quite work or doesn't live up to expectations, I'll be sure to mention it, so you can learn from all the silly mistakes I make!
- It'll always be respectful. Respectful of cooking traditions, respectful of the provenance of ingredients, respectful of the stories and culture behind each dish. I take inspiration from dishes all over the world, and my hybridisation of dishes might sometimes seem offensive or misrepresentative of certain cultures, but know that this all comes from a place of deep love and respect, and I don't mean ill at all. It's just that sometimes I get a bit carried away playing around with food and flavours! 🙈
So despite my weird geekiness and not (yet) NYT-worthy writing, I hope you'll find that bit of inspiration on this site, helping you cook (and eat!) with child-like curiousity and a greater appreciation of food and culture!
Here are some extra things about me (that I guess is what's usually divulged on these About pages, but also so you don't think I just eat weird food all the time).
- I have a huge thing for pickles and ferments! (Except beer; don't judge.)
- My spirit animal is chocolate.
- This Michael Pollan quote is #goals: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." I'm nowhere near being a vegan (and will probably never be one), but man, Blue Hill has taught me that vegetables can be so much more than we allow them to be!
- I do a bit of freelance writing! So so grateful to have been featured on Food52, Taste, and NeoCha.)
- Here's a whole jumble of other things I like: Durian. Coconut milk + gula melaka. Cool indie games. Mochi. Macadamias. Moist cakes. I repeat, moist cakes. Alliteration. Rock climbing (badly). Bioshock Infinite (and what it could have been). The occasional worldview-flipping, morality-questioning TV show. Chocolate. And chocolate.