Saturday, 18 April 2015

Interview with Dennis Lee and Edward Wong, Co-Founders of Chai Bar

healthy, salads, kl
Chai Bar Co Founders - Dennis Lee and Edward Wong

Interview with the Co-Founders of Chai Bar, Dennis Lee and Edward Wong


What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
Hi! I’m Dennis, the creative half of Chai Bar, which means I get to work on the fun stuff like coming up with new salad dressings, designing brochures and connecting with our fans on Instagram. I’ve worked in a diverse set of industries, from design to sales and even service (stewarding on Singapore Airlines) which gave me a unique perspective in opening up my first restaurant with my best friend and partner, Edward.

Hi! I’m Edward and I handle the numbers of Chai Bar, which is really more than just bookkeeping! I make sure everything in the shop is running smoothly, control the costs, and plan for future outlets. Being an engineer previously helped a lot when it came to setting up proper systems and processes in our first restaurant. We both got into F&B very recently, with Chai Bar being open only for about half a year now, although the idea started many years ago when we both couldn’t find anything healthy to eat in PJ! We decided that salads with Asian flavours were the way to go.


Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
There was a customer that wanted us to boil his whole salad, leaves, ingredients and all! It was a strange situation but we had a good laugh as we obliged and lightly blanched his salad leaves..


What's the best/ worst part of your job?
It makes our day when our customers tell us that they're happy to have finally found a salad place in the Klang Valley and even happier, when they actually tell us how good it is and how light they feel after a few days of having salad meals. The worst part would be those times when a customer treats our crew as second-class citizens, never smiling and not a thank you in sight!


Where do you like to eat when not in Chai Bar?
We love the awesome crepes at Strangers at 47! The combination of prawns, squid, spinach and salted egg yolk in 'Shore to Please' is pretty amazing. Of course, good coffee too :)


What's one of the funniest things you've seen behind the scenes?
Granted, we've only been open for six months, so there hasn't been many funny or crazy things we've seen but the one where a customer just comes in and starts singing while choosing his order would be a sure bet. A few minutes later, he asks us to sing with him!


The perfect day off would be....
... sleep in at least till noon, followed by a good coffee..


A day in the life of a restauranteur is...
... expecting the unexpected - there's always something bound to go wrong like staff arriving late, missing supplies, no show customers etc.


What do you do for fun?
Like all Malaysians, eating! Trying out new restaurants and cafes gives us the inspiration to come up with new, amazing things for Chai Bar.


What's something you'd like guests to know about Chai Bar?
We sell fusion salads, combining the best of Western and Asian flavours. Think reinterpretations of favourite dishes like the California roll to our California Girls salad and chicken rice into our Chicken Rice salad. And yes, meats are served hot here! No cold, dry stuff.


What's your favourite food and wine pairing?
Pan-fried garlic and butter cod with Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.


What's your view on the KL food scene?
Malaysian urbanites are starting to be more aware of the need to eat healthy in living a more balanced life. We'll see more and more healthy restaurants opening up in the next couple of years with concepts like farm-to-table, paleo and organic.


What's in store for you in the upcoming months?
We'll be launching a rad new menu in a couple of months, adding on and replacing the current one. Look forward to four new salads and more ingredients and dressings to craft your salad with!

6 comments:

  1. Great review and lovely photo of two people who are obviously very passionate about the business!

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    1. Hi Monica! Thanks for the awesome article :D

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  2. Interesting. I wonder who that guy was - boiling his salad leaves. Ah well...like I always say, to each his own.

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  3. great seeing people i know doing awesome. cant wait to check out their Char Bar when i am back!

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    1. Looking forward to seeing you buddy!

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  4. Interesting reading and nice photo...

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