Saturday, 19 October 2013

Interview with Chef Justin Wong, Miss Ellie Tea House, Melawati, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

METH, Miss Ellie Tea House, Melawati
Chef Justin Wong

The best scones in KL have had The Yum List writers raving for weeks. We recently had the chance to chat with the man behind these delicious afternoon tea treats, Justin Wong, at Miss Ellie Tea House.


What do you do and how did you get into the industry? 
I am a qualified chef and pastry chef currently running Miss Ellie Tea House with my mom. Thanks to my dad, I have loved food for as long as I can remember, so I guess it was a natural choice for me as soon as I was old enough to decide (and come to terms that Superhero College didn't exist). So, I instead found myself in Taylor's College School of Hotel Management and from there advanced my training in patisserie at William Angliss Institute of TAFE, Melbourne, Australia. Worked Down Under for a decade until four years ago, when it became time for me to 'balik kampung'.


How did the idea for Miss Ellie Tea House come about?
Mom and Dad had for a very long time dreamed of running a comfortable, cozy little place in their retirement simply "to have people and friends over to relax and unwind." Sadly, cancer got the better of Dad before retirement. A few years after Dad's passing, Mom wanted to carry on with the dream and I was more than willing to be a part of it. And so, here we are! Pretty sure Dad would be proud.


Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes. 
Here's one from the beginnning of time. Mom and I were both overwhelmed with the setting up of the business last year. Mom was new at this and even though I had one in Melbourne before, things were done differently here. Then our family and friends and churchmates just came to the rescue. They made everything so much easier (or possible, rather), so here's a big shout out to all of them. You're the best!


What's the best/ worst part of your job? 
I'm enjoying just about every aspect so much, it's hard to say. But if I had to, the best thing is seeing a guest happy with their experience at METH. The worst? Ever? Accounts.


What's the best thing about working in METH?
We're family so, lots of love!


What's your personal favourite meal/ drink at METH? 
Mom's Spaghetti, of course! And a pot of Darjeeling Earl Grey, anytime.


Tell us a story about one of the desserts you prepare...
The Pandan Panna Cotta. I created that during my time in Melbourne, when I was co-owner of a cafe for students - in particular Malaysians and Singaporeans - as something to remind them of home, but without being strictly 'traditional'. It's our signature dessert here at METH now. It's strangely satisfying to see something I conceived for Malaysian palates while in the land of my training has, in a way, returned. Not too different from my own journey. Then again, I'm sentimental!


The perfect day off would be... 
when I wake up just in time for a massive home-cooked dinner. 


A life in the day of a chef is... 
crazy wonderful awesome.


What do you do for fun?
Something new, preferably.


What's something you'd like guests to know about the cuisine/ drinks prepared at METH? 
We make nearly everything from scratch. Everything else we make with blood, sweat and tears.


How do you select your ingredients and why? 
I look for the best I can find, from suppliers who respect food. I won't feed people things I wouldn't eat.


What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?

An expansion of our a la carte menu, afternoon tea sets, fresh bread and Christmas scones!

Read about the scrummy food at Miss Ellie Tea House here. 

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