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Culinary Chef’s Passion for PARISIAN Interiors

Property Insight had the privilege to chat with Malaysia’s well-known Celebrity Chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail or fondly known as Chef Wan at his magnificent bungalow located at the Garden Residence in Cyberjaya.

Chef Wan is a man larger than life. Having won the 2009 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards as the Best Celebrity Television Chef in Paris, France, he also received The Most Successful Chef Award – ICONs of Malaysia Award and Tourism Malaysia’s Culinary Ambassador title in 2011.

At 60, Chef Wan who has had the privilege to travel to over 80 countries and serve exquisite cuisines to  Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, is still far from the very thought of retirement.

He asserts that there are still many things to be achieved in life. Apart from being a Food Critic, Actor, Motivator and Entrepreneur, he also intends to set up his own cooking series via the YouTube channel to share his recipes and the finer points of whipping up a hearty storm.

Born in Singapore and having received his formal education in Malaysia before embarking on a culinary educational adventure to the US and France, destiny saw to it that he would change the local gastronomic eco-system with his creations.

He received a Ritz Escoffer Diploma from Hotel Ritz, Paris in France as well as an Associate Degree in Professional Chef Training and Hotel Management from the California Culinary Academy in US. Locally, he studied accountancy and worked at it until he decided to pursue a career as a Chef.

Popular UK Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver even encouraged the flamboyant Chef to utilise the YouTube platform to educate people from across the globe about the finer points of food.

“When you build bridges of friendships, love has no boundaries. Therefore, food has no boundaries either. I enjoy introducing healthy meals for adults and children as well as quick and easy cook-outs,” he says.

“I also talk about the different types of condiments used to cook for women undergoing confinement as the more traditional channels would not air these ideas,” adds Chef Wan acknowledging that media is a powerful tool to reach the masses.

Chef Wan has already lined up plans to kick-start the next opening of his restaurant in March 2018 called Main-main Kitchen after his successful venture called Chef Wan’s Kitchen in Singapore.

He will also continue to undertake his world travel cooking series which was started five years ago called Kembara Selera Chef Wan focusing on his tour to countries like Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Cuba and more.

He chips in to say that although he has travelled the world, his favourite food is still his mother’s fried rice.

Besides indulging in Japanese and Italian cuisine which are on his must-eat list, he will never say no to satay.

Having spent about 14 years living in Vancouver and Hawaii due to career commitments, he came back to homeground where he has been living these past two years.

“I decided to take a couple of years break from my travels due to my health recovery. That is when I decided to renovate and design my own home. Prior to this, I stayed for 17 years at my 3,000 sq ft Penthouse Tiara in Ampang in Kuala Lumpur but the horrendous traffic pushed me to buy this Mah Sing project,” he says.

Home is now an Aspen 3.5-storey corner bungalow unit spanning 7,800 sq ft with 6,500 sq ft of land area. The unit has a lift and has an entertainment space on its rooftop garden with a huge lawn teeming with bright flora and a herbs garden on the grounds.

The Aspen development is contained within a small neighbourhood comprising about 70 bungalows. The quiet neighbourhood is surrounded with lush landscaped gardens for the benefit of residents.

Chef Wan is not only a passionate Cook but also loves indulging in designing the luxurious interior of his sprawling bungalow. Home to him is a paradise which reflects the lifestyle of the person who resides in the residence.

Exploring the bungalow, it is obvious that Chef Wan lives up to the reputation of possessing a tranquil mindset as seen in the ambiance and soothing calmness enveloping the living hall.

The pastel-hued walls and high ceilings complement the larger-sized interior parlour which will be fitted with a specially designed chandelier imported from Austria. He gleans ideas from magazines and interior design books which can be seen arranged neatly on the charming coffee table in the hall.

Chef Wan chose the expertise of NR Interior Design’s Ar. Hajjah Nafisah Radin for the renovation undertaken for his bungalow. He chuckles at the prospect of the huge space which allows him to come up with the right furniture and fittings. “As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he says with a laugh.

Chef Wan explains that his concept of less being more holds water. However, he prefers to render a Parisian chic style which to him brings out the contemporary yet classic feel of his residence. The soft ash coloured sofa complemented by beautifully arranged cushions and carpets he shares was specially ordered from the high-end Baker Furniture shop located in New York, US.

The beige-coloured dining room meanwhile has a 16-seater dining table complemented by exquisite yellow vases and other souvenirs.

The generous kitchen space has a large marble island that comes with non-greasy, non-scratch features complemented by large blue porcelain jars on each end. The wet kitchen has small airy windows which allow ventilation and light to flow into the interior setting overlooking his garden.

“Being a Chef, I love having a variety  of colours in my food, just like the interior design scheme of my residence. I love the colour red but decided to tone down to incorporate more subtle shades of blue and grey instead this time around.”

The bungalow with seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms was customised to fit his specifications with each level being fitted with exquisite marble floorings. Meanwhile, the library room is complemented by wooden panels and full-length windows.

Chef Wan says he prefers projects undertaken by Mah Sing Group Berhad as the developer tends to invest in large family living areas while the master bedroom also tends to be generously sized. He believes that property is the best kind of investment and hence, advises others to be on the lookout for good property investments.

While acknowledging that the property market is a little shaken due to global, local, economic and political uncertainties, he says that if the situation persists, then people might not be able to afford their own homes but prefer to rent instead.

Some he speculates, might even sell at a lower rate as he believes it is a buyer’s market that is prevailing now.

By: Mages PV Lingam

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