After finding out his beloved father was diagnosed with cancer, his world took a turn and was forced to quit his job. He took a risk and now he’s a television and radio personality besides being an educator and chef.
Tell us how you got the passion for cooking and how did it happen?
I grew up in a very traditional Asian household where we are all encouraged to be professionals. Most of my relatives and family are all lawyers, engineers and doctors. For me, I love to deal with people and love business. From that, I became an accountant. You could say I am a super nerd to the point where I was under scholarships and from the work with an oil and gas company for many years.
While I was working, my world made a huge turn drastically after my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Plus the fact that my grandmother didn’t well make my whole world crumble more. So, when that happened, my father lead an alternative lifestyle that required him to go on a path that is free of sugar and salt. I started cooking for my dad and in all the situation I am going through, I found peace in while in the kitchen. So, the passion to cook began.
As time goes by, I and a bunch of friends would take turn per week to do something crazy because life is short. So, one day it was my turn and I was running out of ideas until I was cycling in the gym and I saw an advertisement about participating Masterchef Malaysia. Sticking to the “YOLO” spirit I applied and one thing led to another, I was a contestant in the show.
How was the experience like when you joined MasterChef Malaysia AllStar?
I must say its was a very interesting experience for me. I came from a corporate family and have no clue fully in the kitchen and also in the entertainment industry. It was a very difficult moment for me where I had to reach a point whether I was to resign from my job and continue cooking or to leave the competition altogether. It was before the Top 10 that I had to decide and I follow my guts and went with my passion for cooking. For me, I enjoyed the whole process of discovering myself. Although I took a risk and put everything on the line, however, there are no regrets.
What life lesson did you take from joining Masterchef?
The whole process taught me a lot about myself in how determined I can be as a person, given me more insight into a passion that I secretly had in me and the flair for food. Even so, with the other participants who joined in the competition, they had their story on how food has impacted them and others. When I listen to their story I get the inspiration and that’s what I what to do is to impact people through the art of food.
How did the idea of the Young Chefs Academy Malaysia come about? Why kids?
It’s actually an international franchise from the United States. When I was eliminated from MasterChef Malaysia, the producer assured me that I had the personality, that opportunities will come knocking right after but that didn’t happen. So started chasing the glitz and glam of how I can earn a celebrity chef. I was desperately trying to get a book and TV deals too. In that timing, I literally had no money to the point where I had to call my sister to pay for my RM1 parking ticket.
One day, I spoke to my father and he asked me what is the one thing you would you without anyone paying you for it? I Instantly answered cooking. Then it got me thinking about the time where I was studying in Paris and working part-time in Disneyland. In my job, I spend lots of time with children and volunteered at a foundation called “Make A Wish”. It was basically where kids dying wish was to visit Disneyland. At that moment, I thought hey, why not cooking and children? Young Chefs Kids Academy had its place in Hartamas so I would work part-time there to learn the tricks of the trade. One day, the business partner from the academy came up to me and called me along to join in as a partner. Then on my life changed.
What is the best part of your job? Why?
The satisfaction and the joy you are doing something good in this world and to use your talent to impact other people’s life. Whenever I have a cooking session with the children, they’ll teach me about life and the smile that brighten up their day at the academy here. Ultimately, it’s the stories that you hear and the achievement that they have gone through just makes it all worth it. Everyone has a life purpose and mine is to help the children of Malaysia in the way they eat and also the education system. Also, to build a nation that is healthier, stronger and better.
View this post on Instagram
Kemampuan mereka beraksi di dapur hanyalah dihadkan oleh kepercayaan yang anda letakkan pada mereka! Kids can cook! And im always so proud when i see wht they can accomplish…syukur… im always so blessed tht my job is something tht warms my heart and is my passion… cooking is not just abt food, its abt life experiences that we share with kids in the kitchen! Antara peserta pertandingan memasak kanak-kanak yang telah berlangsung ari ni… #ilovemyjob #ycamalaysia #cutekids #fitkidsmy #kidscooking #kidscookingschool #abangbrian
A post shared by BrianMasterchef (@abangbrian) on
Who is your inspiration? Why?
Everyone who acknowledge my story knows that my father is my biggest inspiration. If it wasn’t for his struggle with cancer, I would never pull through in my life. His persistence to care for people even when he was in pain truly inspires me every single day even when I’m having a tough moment in my life. I love how he uses his life to help others and also bringing up two children(me and my sister) who now have the conscious mind to help other people too.
Of course, any single child that I come across is the light of my life. They are definitely an inspiration in the way they look at life and a daily reminder that life is beautiful.
What advice can you give to aspiring chefs and entrepreneurs out there?
As for the aspiring chefs out there, my advice is to work part-time first and experience the food and beverage business before deciding if this is what you really want to do. Forget things about ego and focus more on your passion and also your intention. Changing my intention to seek the glam and rich life never work for me. Slowly when my intention was to help people, the tv, book and radio deals started coming in. It always about being the best manifestation of who you’re meant to be in this world.