Interview : Datuk Chef Wan 幽默烹調風格之訪南澳系列
Datuk Chef Wan is a man who is a Malaysian Household name and international celebrity. Not only is he the Food Ambassador of Malaysia and is internationally respected, he is a man that should not be underestimated or limited by his talents. He is in no way limited by his amazing culinary skills. He is also an entertainer, an actor of comedies and also an entrepreneur. He has travelled all across the world introducing the culinary art of Malaysian Cuisine. I had the fortunately opportunity to spend the weekend is his world and he lovely welcomed me into his amazing, humourous and affectionate culinary world.
Chef Wan christened name is Redzuawan Ismail. He was conferred a Datukship by the Acting King of Malaysia in 2010. The title of Datuk equates to the British knighthood of Sir, therefore his formal name is Datuk Redzuaman Ismail, but he prefers to be called Chef Wan or Datuk Chef Wan. With his amazing wit and unique humour, he has delighted millions demonstrating his cooking prowess through books and TV for more than 26 years and has travelled all across the world introducing the culinary art of Malaysian Cuisine.
However, this international Chef originally had a different plan for his career path. He was an accountant for 7 years but he had a passion for cooking. But he was unhappy with where his life was heading and was not satisfied. He made the hard decision to change his career and do something that he loved and his love was food. However, on the pursuit for his dream career to become a chef he hid from his family his choice to attend the California Culinary Academy and lied to his family saying that he decided to go back to business school.
While listening to Chef Wan tell me his story about his choice to change from his occupation as an accountant to attend and complete an associate degree in Professional Chef Training and Hotel Management from the California Culinary Academy mid-way through his sentence he changes topic: “I followed my dream, my passion although I came from a different background before – oh someone has recognised me”.
I turn around and a young man was standing a few feet away starring at the back of Chef Wan’s head and he mouthed to me “is that Chef Wan?” and I smiled and nod. Chef Wan turns around and gestures for the young man to come over.
“Come come come, let’s take a photo”
The young man hastily walks over and they both gave huge grins to the camera. The young man thanked Chef Wan and continued to walk down Moonta St. Chef Wan resumes back to our interview. He explains how blessed he feels for living an amazing life after he has made his decision to follow his dream.
“In Malaysia, it is very academic driven and so I became an accountant, I was also arranged married to my wife, we had two beautiful children – but we divorced when I pursued my career to be a Chef”.
Through the interview Chef Wan had so much energy and a bubbly personality. Being a man of his international status, success and fame, it would be a safe assumption to assume that he would be a very busy man with a packed schedule writing cooking books, travelling around the world doing cooking demonstrations, being featured in comedy movies – it was a breath of fresh air to see how energetic he was. Chef Wan explained that his energy levels and bubbly personality was a contributing factor to his success and what ‘it’ takes to be a chef on TV?
“You need to be different, it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, no no – it means that being on TV as a celebrity chef you need personality, something to make you interesting to the audience. You know a good celebrity chef when they are entertaining the audience, I think that’s very important because not everyone that watches cooking programs loves to cook. Not all people enjoy to cook or learning how to cook but everyone enjoys to eat. – And what better than Malaysian Food!” (Reporter: Jo Phan)
People enjoy seeing how things are made and put together when watching a cooking show. Along with the reasoning behind why? Why do you mix these ingredients together, why do these spices complement each other? Cooking shows have grown and developed to cater towards a wider and broader demographic. It’s not only about the recipes and the cuisine anymore, it’s about the Chef and their stories.
While sipping a cup of coffee, Chef Wan was still chatting away. A couple walk up to Chef Wan and the woman puts her hand gentle on his arm:
“We LOVE your show!”
Chef Wan stops mid-sentence and enthusiastically says: “thank you, thank you, come take a photo”
The couple stands around Chef Wan and they all take a photo together. The man pulls out his camera and asks to take a photo using their camera. Chef Wan has a huge grin on his face. His grin is enormous and is very friendly towards the couple while having a conversation with them and waves goodbye as the couple walk off into Central Market.
It’s interesting when looking at the numerous other Celebrity Chef that hold the same statue as Chef Wan, most of the world’s top chefs are men – However, Chef Wan corrects me and states: “I learnt from my mother in her kitchen, that is the best kitchen one could ever learn in and everyone must remember every mother’s kitchen is the best kitchen, the best Chefs had to have started somewhere and that was with their mums.”
Chef Wan’s father was in the Military and when growing up considering the time period that Chef Wan was in, gender roles held a great influence. He was the eldest of 7 children and he spent also of time in the kitchen cooking pastries at the military base. He was very used to living in a multicultural environment. However, it was tough because his dad didn’t believe that his son should be brought up in the kitchen. Although now his father understands his sons career choice and appreciates Chef Wan to be the infamous Chef he is today.
Life as an international celebrity chef, it’s a busy life – but Chef Wan is not fazed, he feels blessed. His life has done a 180 degree turn around by him followed his dream to become a Chef. Chef Wan is so friendly with the people that stop and ask for his photo. He doesn’t hesitate or show any irritation – it doesn’t bother him that midway through his sentences or sipping his cup of coffee people stop and ask for his photo or just simple want to say hello. Chef Wan enjoys being busy and he has such a unique positive force driving all of his projects – “When I die my mouth will still be moving, chatting away.” He is a man who is constantly working and evolving. There is no slowing down.
“I previously received a phone call from Oprah to come on her show because I had to reject her. She wanted me to come on her show but due to my scheduling I couldn’t go. I have so many projects that I’m doing, it was just impossible.”
He has so many exciting plans and events ahead of him. Recently he has accepted an offer for a Channel 4 show in the UK, which is the same network that Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Gordon Ramsey have their shows on. It is a privilege to have met this amazing multi-talented celebrity chef and Malaysian-Household name.
Datuk Chef Wan是馬來西亞家喻戶曉的著名人物，也是一位國際名人。作爲馬來西亞美食大使並且受到了國際讚譽，Chef Wan的天賦絕對不容小覷。他的烹調技藝令人眩目。除了名廚的身份外，Chef Wan還是著名的藝人、喜劇演員和企業家。他遊歷了世界各地，推廣馬來西亞美食。我有幸在一個週末領略了Chef Wan的奇特世界，他也熱情地歡迎我來了解他那神奇、幽默和充滿情感的烹飪世界。
Chef Wan原名Redzuawan Ismail。在2010年，他獲得馬來西亞國王冊封，成爲拿督。拿督的頭銜與英國的爵位類似，因此他的全名為Datuk Redzuaman Ismail，但是他還是喜歡別人叫他作Chef Wan或Datuk Chef Wan。憑藉著獨特的智慧和幽默，Chef Wan用自己的烹飪書籍和電視節目點亮了數百萬人的生活，在作爲廚師26年時間裏，他遊歷了世界各地推廣馬來西亞美食。
就在我聽著Chef Wan 講述自己從會計行業轉行，前往加利福尼亞烹飪學院完成專業廚師培訓與酒店管理學位時，Chef Wan 突然轉變了話題，他說道“雖然我來自完全不同的背景，但是我追隨自己的夢想，自己的熱情……哦，好像有人認出我來了。”
我掉頭看到一個年輕人站在幾米之外的地方盯著Chef Wan的後腦勺，他用口型比劃著問我，“這個人是不是Chef Wan ？”，我笑著點頭。 Chef Wan 也轉過頭來招呼這個年輕人。
年輕人急忙走過來，他和Chef Wan在拍照時都笑得很燦爛。這個年輕人向Chef Wan道謝後沿著Moonta St繼續前行。而Chef Wan也隨即回到了剛剛的話題。他向我解釋說，在做出決定追隨自己的夢想後能夠獲得如此精彩的生活，他覺得倍感青睞。
在採訪過程中，Chef Wan表現了無窮的活力和活潑的個性。作為一名擁有國際聲譽、成就和聲明的人士，我們可以想像Chef Wan的生活有多麼繁忙，他的日程表裡一定擠滿了撰寫烹調書籍、到世界各地旅遊表演烹飪、拍攝喜劇電影等等… …Chef Wan也表示說，無窮的精力和活潑的個性是成功的因素，也是成為電視“名廚”的要素。
在採訪過程中，記者和Chef Wan一邊喝着咖啡，一邊閒聊着趣事。這時，一對夫婦走到Chef Wan的身邊，女士將她的手輕輕地放在Chef Wan的手臂上。
這對夫婦隨即圍繞在Chef Wan的身邊，他們一同開心地合影。男士也掏出了自己的相機，希望能夠在自己的相機上留下合影。Chef Wan的笑容很燦爛。在與這對夫婦交談時，他笑得非常開心，這對夫婦在獲得合影后也滿意地繼續走向中央市場，Chef Wan也親切地與他們揮手道別。
當Chef Wan看到與自己一樣擁有很高知名度的名廚時，非常有趣。當我表示說，絕大多數的世界頂級名廚都是男性時，Chef Wan糾正了我的觀點。他說，“我在我媽媽的廚房裏學會了做菜，那裏是學習烹飪最好的地方；每一個人都應該牢記，每一位媽媽的廚房都是最好的廚房。最成功的廚師一定是從某個地方開始起步的，那裏就是媽媽的廚房。”
Chef Wan的父親是一名軍人，我們可以設想在Chef Wan成長的歲月裏，性別角色發揮着重要的作用。Chef Wan是家裏7個孩子中最年長的，在軍隊基地生活時他將許多時間都花費在廚房裏烘焙糕點。那時的Chef Wan就已經習慣了多元文化的環境。但是，同時由於他的父親認爲自己的兒子不應該只是圍繞着廚房，所以並不非常認同Chef Wan的作法。當然，現在的情況完全不同了。Chef Wan的父親已經能夠理解兒子的職業選擇，並且非常欽佩Chef Wan能夠取得今天的成就。
國際名廚的生活非常繁忙，但是Chef Wan並沒有因此而煩惱，他覺得自己是受到了老天的眷顧。在選擇追隨自己的廚師之夢后，Chef Wan的生活出現了180度轉折。Chef Wan對人非常友善，對所有駐足在他身邊要求合影的人，他都有求必應，從來沒有猶豫或者覺得被冒犯；即使在談話中途或者與友人品嘗咖啡時被人打擾，有人要求合影或過來打招呼，Chef Wan都是熱情對待。對於自己不斷工作、不斷發展的狀態，Chef Wan戲謔地說，“即使到我去世的那一天，我的嘴巴也不會停，會不停地說……”，永遠不會放慢腳步。
Chef Wan的未來有許多讓人興奮的計劃和活動。近日，他已經接受了英國第四頻道的邀請參加電視節目，這個頻道也曾經邀請過如Jamie Oliver、Nigella Lawson、Gordon Ramsey等名廚參加節目。能夠採訪到這樣一位多才多藝、在馬來西亞家喻戶曉的名廚，實在是一種榮幸。(完)