Small Talk

She’s voted the Best Fe­male Chef in Asia 2015, an ad­vo­cate for en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly din­ing and mother of one. Vicky Lau speaks to Rachel Ng dur­ing her visit to Malaysia as guest chef for RHB’S ex­clu­sive ap­pre­ci­a­tion din­ner, and we find out what inspir

Malaysia Tatler - - CONTENTS -

Get up close with Vicky Lau, 2015’s Best Fe­male Chef

How did you get into be­ing a chef?

For me the act of cre­at­ing is im­por­tant, but we have to cre­ate some­thing with mean­ing to it, not just for the sake of do­ing it. I was lucky enough to start off at a small bou­tique style firm fo­cus­ing on en­vi­ron­men­tal and pro bono ac­counts—so that was re­ally de­sign­ing for the bet­ter­ment of so­ci­ety. Af­ter I moved back to Hong Kong, I re­alised that such com­pa­nies didn’t ex­ist there, so I free­lanced, work­ing ran­dom jobs just to pay the bills. Then I wanted to take a break and thought, I’ve al­ways en­joyed cook­ing and mak­ing things with my own hands, so I might as well go to Le Cor­don Bleu and learn some­thing. Af­ter three months there, I fell in love with it, and told my­self I have to fin­ish the en­tire course. Then I worked at a French restau­rant, so I thought I’d com­bine ev­ery­thing I know about de­sign, food, cul­ture and Hong Kong, thus Tate came to be.

How do you de­scribe your cui­sine?

I think it’s very me, in the sense that it’s a cul­tural mix, be­cause I was born in the East but also lived in the West. Plus I’m very cu­ri­ous about dif­fer­ent cul­tures, so I try to in­cor­po­rate a lit­tle bit of my think­ing as well as my ex­pe­ri­ence from trav­el­ling. It’s also very fem­i­nine and fo­cuses on sto­ry­telling, which is im­por­tant as it’s the short­est time to get to know a per­son. I only get a few hours when my guests sit down and I want them to un­der­stand what my thoughts are. There­fore, I hope they get the mes­sage through each dish’s ex­pres­sions.

Has your cook­ing evolved over time?

Yes, def­i­nitely. In the be­gin­ning since I was French trained I cooked more French style food. I would say also more gim­micky food be­cause I wanted to catch the at­ten­tion of peo­ple, but slowly you find the smoke and dry ice are just spe­cial ef­fects that are not as im­por­tant. So I tried to go back to the roots—ev­ery­thing needs to have a point if it is be­ing served on the dish.

We learned that your busi­ness is go­ing the more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly route, could you tell us more?

The more you cook the more you get in touch with the en­vi­ron­ment and you re­alise that if you want it to last for the next gen­er­a­tion you have to think about the sur­round­ings. So we’ve given up bot­tled wa­ter, and put in a strong fil­tra­tion sys­tem in­stead. As for table­cloths, I use synthetic leather that just needs a good wipe down so I don’t have to send the cloths to be bleached ev­ery day. Other things are sus­tain­able seafood and ta­ble flow­ers. We don’t want to waste flow­ers un­less it’s for spe­cial events so we used kitchen scraps and grew some plants like sweet pota­toes to use as decor. We also have a bin in­side the kitchen to col­lect food scraps and we try to make some­thing out of it.


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