Ange in Action
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.