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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.