I was born in Penang, Malaysia. I am 1/2 cantonese and 1/2 peranakan hokkien. My maternal grandparents were pure baba nyonyas and naturally so was my mother. I am an ex Georgian (SGGS) and did my business degree in Australia. After university, I landed a job in Price Waterhouse under their management consultancy department. All went well until I found out there is actually an opportunity where I could be expatriated for work! Hence I left PW for Maersk (AP Moeller). With Maersk I have 12 yrs of experience in the maritime world mainly in the commercial functions (marketing, budgeting, pricing and product placement) and later on project management (incl process improvements, LEAN, Six Sigma trained Green Belt).
During those 12 years, I worked and lived abroad as a large part of my professional life. I have lived/worked in Denmark, USA, UAE, Italy and Singapore. I was based in Venice and have just recently reposted to Singapore. While in Venice, I learnt more about the Italian culture, language and their cooking. It was a very inspiring year – as the subjects were close to my heart. Other things I enjoy includes reading, sports and practising the art of positive living. And since I love to travel and cook, I decided to create and dedicate this particular blog for my cooking and travel discoveries .
The original title of ‘Adventures of a Wandering Kitchen’ came about due to my constant move from one country to another the last 15 years. And since this blog will focus primarily on food and cooking, cultures and then travel, hence the name. Once in a while I may digress from the core subject matter – focusing on events I have experienced which I would like to share (and have absolutely nothing to do with food). In June 2009, after an incidental comment exchange with Mr Dennis Kweh who has also Peranakan roots, it struck my mind that I should change the title of my blog to ‘Adventures of a Wandering Nyonya’ instead of ‘Kitchen’ in honour of my heritage. So thanks Dennis!
Everywhere I go to, I find the culinary heritage of each place to be very fascinating. How did a cuisine evolve and how did they develop and what influences were there? As much as I like to shape the future, the past is equally interesting. I love to explore the local produces too and how they have been prepared to their best in each region of the world. I am a firm supporter of eating locally – in the sense I refuse to eat Chinese when I am in Denmark, not that I am against cooking Korean in Denmark or Italian in Singapore, however to get to the soul of the food, the environment – sounds/smells and the sight plays a big part too in the ultimate consumption of a local meal in its own environment.
As much as I like cooking, I do enjoy my occassional meal-outs too. I strongly support responsible and green dining. The trend of being a responsible diner and restauranteur is definitely the future. I truly admire chefs like Rick Bayley, Gordon Sinclair from Chicago to Acorn House in London. And I am a big fan of Ottolenghi.
As a diner, I strive to choose restaurants that support my beliefs and eating responsibly in relation to the environment, the freshness of the produce and supporting local producers. Demanding fresh raspberries in the middle of December in London, being imported all the way from Chile leaves carbon footprints and you are paying so much more just to get that. Why not use the extra $$ to support local producers to ensure the freshest products, good quality and sustainable methods used to run a farm and the kitchen.
I am also interested in projects like Slowfood (Italy) to preserve and safegguard traditional / hand made food products that may not survive in the current world where economies of scale is the main goal in churning out food products. I wished there will be a ‘Slow Food’ wave in Malaysia especially the Orang Asli culinary heritage that many of us even Malaysians are not really aware of.
So there you go. I hope you find this an interesting read as much as I find it fun to share and write about. You are welcome to contact me by email – yoonsyATyahooDOTcom if you have a question or want to reproduce any of my posts or copy the photos.
PS – you may have noticed that my recipes are mainly Italian or from the western hemisphere, that is because when I started cooking seriously, I was already living abroad. And when I started this blog, I moved to Italy. Since I am quite a purist, I rather keep the substitution of spices and raw ingredients to the minimal. As a matter of principal, I’d rather learn to cook the local dishes where I am at that time, as the raw ingredients I could get were fresher and more appropriate. Now that I am back in Singapore, I hope to build a repertoire of interesting recipes to reflect my original heritage, mainly Nyonya and Asian. As much as I love cooking, baking is my true passion. Hence my dream is to have my own cake business one day (fingers crossing!)