9 Inspiring Women Taking The Lead In The Malaysian And International F&B Scenes
Once a notoriously male-dominated field, the F&B industry both in Malaysia and abroad has evolved with the success stories of female chefs, mixologists and restauranteurs
Chef Mandy Goh
The newly appointed executive chef at The St. Regis Langkawi is clearly on the fast track to success. Penang-born Goh’s passion for cuisine first came to light when, at just 21 years of age, she joined the prestigious Bocuse D’or Asia culinary competition as part of an all-female team, earning a gold medal for Malaysia.
At The St. Regis Langkawi, Goh is in charge of operations at the resort’s brasserie, L'Orangerie as well Kayu Puti restaurant and Gourmand Deli.
Chef Kwen Liew
In 2018, a little restaurant in Paris called Pertinence earned its very first Michelin star just 7 months after opening. The restaurant was co-founded by Malaysian-born Chef Kwen Liew and her husband Ryosuke Naito.
Hailing from Ipoh, Liew won cheers from all across Malaysia, being one of only two women to receive the coveted star that year.
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The Seoul-based restauranteur has not looked back since opening Agak Agak Seoul in 2019, determined to bring the Malaysian ‘kopitiam’ spirit to its trendy Yeonnam-dong neighbourhood locale.
Adding to the success of her catering company, Root Cellar KL, Basira proved her chops in the early days at Agak Agak Seoul as the eatery’s sole chef.
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It’s sadly unsurprising that Amanda Wan’s family and friends were less than thrilled upon learning of her dream to become a globe-trotting mixologist. Years after her first bartending job at WiP Kuala Lumpur, Wan soon earned the respect of colleagues and onlookers when she was chosen to represent Malaysia at the DIAGEO Global World Class Bartender Of The Year competition in 2010.
Currently the beverage manager at The Envoy in Hong Kong, Wan hopes her story will inspire younger aspiring female mixologists.
Chef Jun Wong
Kikubari’s executive chef has in the past toiled long and tirelessly at top notch restaurants around the world, including the 2-starred Michelin restaurant Narisawa in Tokyo, the 3-starred Michelin restaurant Robuchon au Dôme in Macau and many others.
Today, the forward-thinking young chef is known for her experimental style and unabashed confidence in Kikubari's kitchen.
Chef Melba Nunis
A few years back, Chef Melba Nunis’ A Kristang Family Cookbook garnered the title of Best In the World in the Woman Chef category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in China.
Today, the celebrity chef has collaborated with renowned eateries like ATAS at The RuMa Kuala Lumpur, all while hosting supper clubs in her Ara Damansara home with the aim of spreading the love of the Kristang cuisine she grew up with in her hometown of Melaka.
Enjoying whisky is one thing – but toiling her way to becoming the first independent bottler of scotch whisky in Malaysia is undoubtedly a story that Eiling Lim will savour for years to come.
In her 20s, Eiling tasted her first single malt whisky, and the idea to start her own whiskey adventure was also spurred by a desire to introduce local whisky lovers to the joys of independent bottling.
Lim Shiew Li
Beneath her sweet-natured smile and demure demeanour, Lim Shiew Li masks a gutsy drive, sheer grit and determination to succeed. One half of the founding duo behind the beloved Malaysian artisanal ice-cream brand Inside Scoop, Lim worked to refine her novice skills in ice cream-making with a course in Bologna, Italy in the course of setting up the business.
The roaring success of this homegrown Malaysian brand faced up against competitors like Häagen-Dazs and Baskin Robbins is proof of both Lim and her co-founder/husband Edmund Tan's unyielding devotion to their craft.
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The co-founder of Malaysia’s first all-natural vegan ice cream parlour, Serina Bajaj champions sustainability in her business and speaks often about the importance of mindful eating and being kinder to the natural environment.
Three years have passed since Kind Kones’ inception, and 5 KL outlets later (with outlets in Singapore to too), Serina isn’t showing any signs of slowing down yet.