The culinary icon and her son talk about the challenges faced by women in F&B in this final part of a three-part series for International Women's Day.

Violet Oon may be 68 years old, but age has done nothing to strip her of her sharp wit and enthusiasm for her craft. The local culinary icon’s long-standing relationship with food has been a tumultuous one, especially since it didn’t initially brew from passion. Recalling her reluctance to eat when she was young, much to the chagrin of her mother, Violet said food was nothing more than sustenance then. “I was a very skinny child, which you obviously can’t tell now!” But her interest piqued when her family moved to London, where her mother took cooking lessons. Violet returned to Singapore at age 16, and stayed with an Indonesian Chinese grand-aunt, who inducted her into the world of Peranakan cuisine.

Fast forward to 2018, the former food journalist and her two children, Tay Su-Lyn and Tay Yiming, both Generation T listers, run three thriving establishments in Bukit Timah, National Gallery Singapore and Clarke Quay. With investor Manoj Murjani, who co‑founded TWG Tea, the family has big plans up their sleeves with hopes of global expansion.

With these goals in mind, Violet and Yiming exchange insights about the women in F&B who have inspired them and equality in the business. 

Watch the video below for their conversation.

This story first appeared in Singapore Tatler's March 2018 issue. View Part 1 with Kirsten Tan and Part 2 with Stefanie Yuen Thio

  • WordsChong Seow Wei
  • PhotographyDarren Gabriel Leow
  • VideographyNicola Ng
  • HairBenedict Choo
  • Make-UpBenedict Choo, using YSL Beauté, Mac Cosmetics and Laneige
  • Photographer's AssistantDarren Chan and Eric Tan
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