Interview with Ili Sulaiman, Founder and Head Chef of DISH by Ili
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
We are a food service that provides wholesome food delivery in tiffin carriers. I've always worked in events and have always had a passion for food and cooking. When I was living away in London, I landed a job in a private fine dining restaurant. So I guess that's how I made my entrance into the industry and have not looked back since.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
One of the highlights of my career was being part of the service team for Prince William and Duchess Catherine's reception dinner at Buckingham Palace. I can honestly say it was one of the most pleasant and beautiful weddings to be of service to. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it was an honour for me to serve them even though due to the preparations and excitement, the whole team probably had not slept for about 36 hours. So that's a little bit of a glimpse of a story behind the scenes. Being in this industry is hard work and you're often the first one to wake up and the last one to finish.
What's the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing people enjoy my food and my concept.
I wouldn't say there's a bad part of the job but, what I would say is, I wish that people in the F&B industry could get a little more recognition and be viewed as a prestigious profession.
What's your personal favourite meal at DISH by Ili?
Personally, I like my Aubergine Masak Kicap Chilli Padi served with white rice.
What's one of the craziest things you've seen behind the scenes?
This has not happened yet, but I'm sure it will soon.
The perfect day off would be...
... going to a new place in a new environment, savouring delicious food that's made with love by someone else, sharing this experience with close family and friends.
A day in the life of a entrepreneur is:
Wake up early. Head to the market. Buy the freshest ingredients. Back to the kitchen to prep. Cook the meal. Prep the meal. Clean the Kitchen. Meal delivery. Followed by a couple of hours on the laptop or going for meetings.
What do you do for fun?
I like to travel, go to music festivals, dance and enjoy cooking for my loved ones.
What's something you'd like guests to know about DISH by Ili?
That we are actually a family run business. Ili cooks. Ili's aunt bakes all the sweet treats and Ili's cousin helps manage the overall administration of the business and we all operate from home.
What's your view on the Kuala Lumpur food scene?
It's exciting that there are a lot of cafes and restaurants popping up. It's good to see that some of these establishments are based on an ethos of great customer service whilst providing the best training and value of staff. However, I do feel that we as a nation have a huge potential to be the food destination of Asia, providing the best possible service but we are still learning to value the food industry and to encourage young budding chefs to come out of their shells and make this happen.
What's in store for you in the upcoming months?
Starting from the 13th of February, I'll be featuring in my own cooking show, Diari Mangkuk Tingkat Bersama Ili which will be broadcasted on ASTRO RIA and ASTRO MayaHD. The show is scheduled to be a weekly broadcast on every Friday at 9pm. As always, we will continue our weekly delivery service Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as take special big orders for tiffin deliveries on the weekends.