Celebrating The Silent Kitchen Warriors of the saujana hotel kuala lumpur - Part 1
Have you tasted something so good, it touches your soul? Did you wonder about the story behind the dish or the person who made it?
This April, the Frozen Lime Team was blessed with the opportunity to interview two talented chefs from The Saujana Kuala Lumpur on their life journey to becoming a chef as well as their personal stories.
In the first of this two-part series, we spoke with Banquet Sous Chef, Felix Siew who oversees the Malay & Western banquet kitchens.
#1 How did your love for cooking start?
Chef Felix: As a child, I used to watch cooking shows on television; I was intrigued at how the chefs whipped up amazing dishes and the bliss on the faces of the live audience sampling the cooking. You could also say that my older brother, Eric Siew, played a big part in my career decision. Eric was the former Executive Chef at Doubletree Hilton Kuala Lumpur and he has won many gold medals in international competitions. Today, Eric runs his own restaurant Abanico in Shah Alam. He is my inspiration to keep improving each day, and I aspire to have my own restaurant one day too.
#2 What was your journey to becoming a chef like?
Chef Felix: Like any chefs who can tell you, it was challenging. I took a course in a Hotel Industry Apprentice Scheme when I won a government scholarship and was assigned to work in several hotels. After 6 months, I honed my skills and slowly worked my way up to where I am today through various stints in restaurants and hotels. My memorable experience was working at the Shangri La Kuala Lumpur where I gained most of my skills developing as a junior chef and have come a long way since. My mentor was then Executive Chef Tang Chee Keong of The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur who groomed me and guided me to be where I am today as we had worked together previously as well. All in all, I have chalked up 14 years of experience in this industry.
#3 Name a memorable stint or an inspiring person you had cooked for
Chef Felix: My wife is my muse! Also, the actor/writer Chris Ng. I was star-struck when he came to dine at Paya Serai. After the meal, I asked him how the meal was, his reply left me red-faced as he found it mediocre. I asked for another chance to cook for him and his friends. He gave me that chance and after that, returned with his friends once more. I felt so happy that he appreciated and liked my cooking.
#4 What is your favourite item on the menu? What’s the secret tip to being out the flavours of the dish?
Chef Felix: It has to be the Poached Halibut with Lemon-Thyme Broth served with summer vegetables and cream leek sauce. I love to work with fish and red meat such as beef or lamb because they’re very challenging. To cook it to perfection -the right texture, the ‘done-ness’, takes a lot of techniques and skills. As for tips, I’d say the trick is use the right type of herbs and spices to bring out the flavours of the dish. I’m big on sourcing for all things local, they are readily available and fresh. The second tip is butter; butter always gives you a nicer colour, taste and texture.
#5 Off-duty, where or whose cooking do you enjoy the most?
Chef Felix: Dad’s! Growing up, my Dad was the one who usually cooks dinner and supper. Dad’s Lamb Curry takes the number one spot and my Mother cooks the best Assam Laksa. Every festive occasion, these two signature dishes will always be on the menu for our family and friends.
This sums up Part 1 with Chef Felix! To find out more about The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur,
Stay tuned for the second part of this series featuring Chef Chan Kang Wai who is the Assistant Chinese Chef of the famed Ti Chen Chinese restaurant in The Saujana Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on Thursday!