Harper's Bazaar (Singapore)
Why do you do what you do?
I started my first business at 16 selling homemade cakes to cafés. The challenge that I always pose to myself is: Can I build a legit, sustainable business? I chose the food business because it’s everything I have ever known. I was born into it—my dad runs a chicken rice store that has a history of 50 years. I’ve also worked in restaurant kitchens and I don’t like how toxic the environment can be sometimes. I’ve always wondered: Why can’t a kitchen environment be super positive and welcoming while also being a profitable business with quality products? When I built my business, I went in with the intention to have a good environment—it’s something I wanted to prove to myself.
What is a look that makes you feel powerful?
I am super into silk dresses because they kind of defy everything that has to do with working in a kitchen. I feel that a lot of female chefs and bakers are always being put in this box— people think we’re masculine or tomboyish, that we are not pretty or glamorous. For a lot of the shoots I’ve done, I’m always asked to come in my chef ’s jacket. But I don’t really feel my best in a chef ’s jacket—it’s just part of my work identity, but not something that defines me. You can never wear a silk dress in the kitchen—it hugs your body, it makes you feel sexy. I don’t think it’s something a lot of female chefs like to say because we’re always having to stand up against the guys in the kitchen. If you show any signs of femininity, they’d think you’re weak.