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AUGUST: Food, home & business

This year I've been  writing a play that looks at how food feeds into our understanding of home and belonging. It's about a Malaysian woman who moves to the UK, misses home, sets up a street food stall selling Malaysian food...

The play is called 'Don't sing in the kitchen, or you'll marry an old man', check out the project here:

As part of research for this project I have been speaking with people in London about food and home. In the series ‘Home, Food & Business’ I have been focusing on those who have developed a career around food that reminds them of home and who predominantly have ‘home’ in multiple places.I thought I would gather those interviews here.

So far, I have spoken with Mandy and Guan, there will be more coming!

Mandy from Sambal Shiok

Safiah and I are bad Malaysians. We hadn’t been to Roti King in Euston till Monday 6 July. Luckily Mandy, of Sambal Shiok, saved the day and showed us the road home. Roti canai and kopi. Real kopi, kopi with sweetened condensed milk.

Sambal Shiok is a Malaysian Street Food stall, run by Mandy. Sambal is a Malaysian chilli sauce, often made with shrimp paste served as a condiment. Shiok is Malaysian slang for delicious. 

Mandy started her business in December 2013 at Harringay Market on Sundays as a guest spot for Christmas/New Year. Speaking to Mandy it’s clear to see the drive and the passion. Originally trained as a lawyer, Mandy worked as a partner in a corporate law firm in London, before realising that that pace of life was no longer making her happy - and food, and cooking was something that did.

And Mandy Part two, about support, advice and the importance of networks.

Guan and Nyonya

I meet up with Guan on a Tuesday lunchtime, I had just got back from a week in France and although I had a lot of work to do that day I was still in holiday mood, so it wasn't hard for Guan to twist my arm into having a glass of wine with lunch. Or rather - "are you the sort of person who has one glass and then thinks another is a good idea? Maybe we should just have a carafe?"

With that one sentence, I knew me Guan were going to get on.

Guan gave up his Investment Banking career to train in traditional French cooking at Cordon Bleu in London for a year. But for his cooking post-studying Guan went back to his roots and developed a very specific style of cooking, Nyonya food. A combination of falling in love with cooking and a lucky break on TV with 'The Taste' meant Guan ended up changing careers and giving a life in the food industry a shot.


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