Busy as Chef Bee

We had a quick chat with Chef Bee over a bowl of piping hot, Kway Teow. She’s had quite a journey and enjoys cooking the food she brings to the table more than anything. We’ll tell you how it went: 

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When did you start cooking? 

It all started when I was in my teens- back in Malaysia. My mom was busy. I was around 13. I would run into the kitchen to watch my grandmother cooking. And also secretly hope that someday I could cook like her. I loved helping her cook. She used  charcoal burner back then. She would normally be making a soup for the family. We never missed those. It would normally be a pork soup with vegetables. Our soups were very dear to us! 

Being brought up in Malaysia, I can almost never cook without rice. I did a few stir frys’ and I was happy with the way they turned out. At the age of 20, I joined Singapore Airlines. I was very happy to be in the hospitality sector. I loved serving people. Ten years, and I saw the bigger picture. I’ve had so much exposure, so many opportunities to travel and enjoy so many cuisines. 

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Tell us about Bee’s Kopitiam

I married a French man and was exposed to French culture. I settled down with him in Chennai in 1996 and we’ve been here since then. Then came family, children- and that sort of put everything on hold. Once the children were big enough to take care of themselves, I opened Bee’s Kopitiam in Express Avenue Mall in Chennai. 

Nothing satisfies more than a restaurant. “Kopitiam” in colloquial Chinese means “coffee shop”. There are many Kopitiams in Malaysia. We had a contract of three years with them and that went really well. 

But then I wanted to be home a little more. I wanted to be with the family. After my contract, I decided to take another route to food. I thought I’d share my experiences. Cooking classes, maybe. I approached Foodology, who was ready to take me on. Last August, I joined them. 

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Tell us about your experience there, 

I love working with children. Foodology has brought me closer to them and given me that exposure. It’s quite a nice feeling to expose children to a new cuisine. They get really thrilled. 

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What’s your biggest challenge in the kitchen so far? 

French food. I went for a course by Alain Ducasse at his school in France. I really enjoyed it. But also learnt that French cuisine is quite hard to master. 

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Your favourites in the kitchen? 

Oriental food. There’s nothing like going back to your roots. Japanese food excites me because it’s so simple and delicious. 

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Your message to our readers..

If you want to cook, cook from your heart. If your heart is happy, your cooking will make the people around you happy.