Salmon LoHei Prosperity Salad Showcase
What and Who Influences Your Way of Cooking?
I draw influence from the different places I travel to. My travelling revolves mostly around food. It ranges from the ingredients that inspire me to the 4 seasons I love – I live in Australia.
There are several people who influences my way of cooking. One of the inspirational personnel is definitely my mum. She is a really good cook. Others will be people like Chef Kylie Kwong, who got a real organic earthy way of cooking and are especially passionate about sustainability. Next will be the humility of many chefs like Peter Gilmore, follow by Tetsuya who is a top-down to earth guy. Every individuals inspire me for different reasons. I call it the ‘philosophy of cooking’. It is all about the food, nothing pretentious about that I met from those who inspires me to cook the food that I love. As always like a reminder, ‘you should always cook the food that’s truly yourself’’.
What is Your Most Memorable Occasion in Your Journey?
Too many!! The greatest thing about a cook’s journey is in getting incredibly fresh food and seeing how people do it in their culture.
Couple of years ago, we conducted a cooking class in a very private facility in Hanoi. We rode bikes to a local market. We bought live fish straight out of the tank. The whole experience was a real life opener for me and my children; it is what we want to pass down to the next generation. We should never to be afraid of ‘slaughtering’ animals; the fish, cow, pig, chicken which ‘we rear’ it for food.
We should appreciate where the animals come from. We eat it fresh and possibly all parts of the animal. I have never waste any parts in my cooking; the fish, the pig such as trotter, skin, belly, crispy ears and the very delicious pork cheeks. Even for the coriander, I eat it whole! Those instances make me truly appreciates what is like being a chef.
Friendly Competition with
Chef Larry [W Singapore Sentosa Cove] & Chef Paul [Chef on Board MotorYacht La Familia]
Challenges are always come along with the new things people enjoy but it is also about staying very true to who you are as a cook. The essence of my cooking is purely my Singaporean Chinese Indian heritage. I sort of stray away from the perspective that I still cook things that are very specific to me but the flavours are still there. The chilies, the coriander, the herbs are still very much an Asian thing.
Your Perspectives of the Current Food Innovation?
Many chefs explore into gastronomy. There is a great thing about the food world, the dining scene where you can get anything from a plate of char kway teow at a hawker center to high end gastronomic cuisine. I think the array of cuisine is a great thing for the industry and that diners will be able to choose what they want to eat at any point of time from that great variety.
What about Women Becoming Chef?
We women are the only who can have babies. It is tough to balance the job of a chef with family because chef is a very demanding job. Traditionally, I think there were many women working in the culinary scene. At a certain point, women will get married and have children which I think resulted a fair drop of women in the scene. But I know there are many more women coming back now. I think women becoming a chef are great because they influences differently; from the way we think, approach and cook just like in other jobs with both sexes. I am definitely all for it!!
What’s Next for All Your Fans?
I just put up a cookbook ‘My Kitchen at Your Table’ during the end of last year. Another cookbook is coming up next. We are in midst of planning some food tours in Singapore. We might also be travelling around the region soon. The food tours are purely about the way I travel; it is all about eating, cooking, buying awesome food gadgets and more eating and we just talk. I want people of the like minded who are real big foodies to come along the journey to enjoy. The first stop will be Singapore, so they get to know Singapore through my eyes.
8 Other things to know about Chef Audra and her 2 Sharings:
Audio Record with Photos
8 Interesting facts to know about Chef Audra
- Born in Singapore
- Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
- Previous in the telecommunication industry for 19 years
- Lived in Australia for 17 years
- Paternal grandfather was a butler to Lord Louis Mounbattan when Singapore were still under the British colony and he also became an assistance cook to General Yamashita when the Japanese took over Singapore during WWII.
- Paternal grandmother was really good with Indian cooking.
- Woke up one day and decided to participate in the Masterchef Australia competition as she does not want to regret for not doing it after 10 years down the road.
- 2 weeks after grand finale of Masterchef Australia, she started a series of pop up dinner for a period with couple of friends and they received many referrals. Absolutely loving it, every client is different she gets to do what she loves doing upon waking up every day.
Advice by Chef Audra for Aspiring Chefs
- It is not true for those who has a mindset of getting into a cooking competition such as Masterchef, winning it then becoming successful from there.
- If you are young, go through that training. It teaches you the basics and it gives you a good array of cuisine that you can explore. Then ultimately you can decide what path you want to take. The cooking world in being a chef is not easy and it is not glamorous at all. For me the most important that I thrive on is cooking in the kitchen, creating food making people happy through my food. The 3.5 years is tough, not everybody get to see that. It is not easy and straightforward but it is damm enjoyable if you got your heart and soul in it.