Ange in Ac­tion

Wine & Dine Cookbook - - WHAT'S COOKING - IN­TER­VIEW NATALIE JOY LEE

Glam­orous An­gela May wears many hats. Here, she dis­cusses her lat­est culi­nary jour­ney and shares an ul­tra easy recipe for home cooks

An­gela May’s an­swer­ing our ques­tions via voice mes­sages on What­sapp, since she’s con­cur­rently get­ting ready to host an event. It’s an av­er­age mul­ti­task­ing day for the ac­tress-host-model and now, chef of her own restau­rant Ange Café at Robin­sons The Heeren. Born to an Amer­i­can fa­ther and Thai mother who are both avid home cooks, An­gela grad­u­ated from Le Cor­don Bleu in Syd­ney and is a reg­u­lar host at the Bo­cuse d'Or, one of the world's most pres­ti­gious gas­tro­nomic com­pe­ti­tions held in Lyon, France. Dur­ing one of those ses­sions, she met her cur­rent boss Olivier Ben­del, founder and CEO of Deli­ciae Hos­pi­tal­ity Man­age­ment. “So we got talk­ing about my fu­ture, if it had any­thing to do with restau­rants, and the con­ver­sa­tion just snow­balled from there,” laughs An­gela. The 42-year-old bachelorette, whose breadth of F&B ex­pe­ri­ence spans wider than her pe­tite 1.65m frame, talks to us about her love for Thai cui­sine, why women will al­ways rule the kitchen and shares a favourite fuss-free recipe for host­ing at home.

The move from model to restau­rant chef hap­pened be­cause I was sur­rounded by thin, hun­gry peo­ple! I left model­ing for culi­nary school to do some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent.

Too many culi­nary greats in­spire me. There’s Thomas Keller, for his spirit of hos­pi­tal­ity and de­tail-ori­ented food; Paul Bo­cuse, be­cause he started the move­ment of el­e­vat­ing chefs to be more than just cooks stuck in the back of the house; and Alice Wa­ters, the pi­o­neer be­hind the eat­ing sus­tain­ably move­ment and for work­ing with farm­ers to choose the best in­gre­di­ents.

Thai food’s my fuss-free choice when en­ter­tain­ing be­cause it’s fun to share and easy to make ahead. The Iberico pork cheek pasta on the menu [at Ange Café] was in­spired by a Thai dish called kao ka moo (Thai braised pork leg). I braise pork cheeks in dark soy sauce, star anise and Saigon cin­na­mon with cloves, then fin­ish off with a but­tery French style sauce and some Thai chilli for that lit­tle Asian ‘kick’.

I ab­so­lutely can­not live with­out fish sauce in the kitchen. It adds depth of flavour and salin­ity. I have a whole col­lec­tion of fish sauces that I use at dif­fer­ent times.

Kale is one of the key in­gre­di­ents on my menu, and re­cently, amaranth too. I get a beau­ti­ful red and green va­ri­ety of Ja­panese amaranth from a lo­cal farm in Singapore that’s com­pletely pes­ti­cide-free and hy­dro­ponic so­lar-pow­ered.

One of the most mis­un­der­stood things about chefs—that we don't en­joy it when some­one tries to cook for us. We do; it shows you care!

I miss laksa most when­ever I’m trav­el­ling. Ka­tong Laksa is still where I go for my laksa fix, even though they’re su­per fancy now with the iPad or­der­ing sys­tem.

Women will al­ways rule the kitchen. Most chefs I know were taught to cook by their mums.

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