People often refer to me as a food snob. I don’t blame them.
Growing up with a family of strict vegetarians, I was raised eating all sorts of steamed vegetables, soy products and brown rice. Instead of having my taste-buds dulled, this extremely healthy yet simple diet heightened my sense of taste and soon drove me into a culinary rebellion as soon as I hit the age of 17. While all the other teenage girls sneaked out of home to hit the bars and nightclubs, I started hitting the Sydney culinary scene with an inquisitive desire to be a carnivore. Back then, a degustation at Tetsuya’s was only a mere $75 per head, a delightful reward for a hard day’s work at Oliver’s & Co (my very first job) - a rustic shop stocked with premium Spanish olive oils, Italian truffles and gourmet products from Provence. By utilizing my staff discount, I also started to whip up gourmet meals with recipes and ideas from my store manager, and soon developed an indulgently expensive palate. The turning point was when I arrived at the doorstep of (the now closed) Restaurant VII on Bridge St, opened by a dear family friend. When Chef Haru and Nori presented their creations, it opened my world into fine dining as I sunk my polished silver spoon into that famous sea urchin egg cocotte garnished with a gold leaf. I returned week after week to see the familiar faces, and continued to follow them on their next ventures with a addictive curiousity.
A few years past, after graduating from university and progressing into the fast-paced advertising industry, I started to climb the corporate ladder and ended up with a mortgage I couldn’t really afford. To alleviate the increasing bills, it was a good idea to search for part-time restaurant work. I’m not talking about waiting tables at your local cafe, because being the spoilt, indulgent, champagne-on-a-beer-budget princess I had become, if I was ever going to wait tables, it would have to be nothing less than a place like Icebergs Dining room and bar. In 12 months, by working a double Saturday and a double Sunday shift every week, I learnt priceless amounts of valuable insight to the restaurant industry from the likes of Maurizio Terzini, Robert Marchetti and Darran Smith, simply just by watching the way they operate and manage. It was definitely not an easy learning process being thrown in the deep end, but no matter which restaurant I’ve worked at since then, the professionalism, training and rules I’ve learnt from Icebergs were universally applicable to other luxurious restaurants I joined later, and I am forever thankful that they made such a silly decision in hiring a chef groupie with absolutely no hospitality experience at the time. Through work, many valuable friendships were made with people who are incredibly talented, and I can’t ever imagine my life without them.
Later on, I would very much like to chase my own restaurant dream. Some day.
Meanwhile, I am just writing on this website to bring you my experiences that I’d like to share. Not just my everyday eating habits, not just every meal I cook in my kitchen – I want to share with you something special, because you’re all very special to me!