For most of my life, I bounced back and forth between Singapore and Hong Kong. Whether I was staring across Victoria Harbour on the edge of China, or wandering past street hawkers in Singapore, I was always surrounded by food.
I was thirteen when I took my first restaurant job in Singapore. In the Chinese culture, cooking was not, at that time, something people set out to do so that eventually they could open a three-star Michelin restaurant and conquer the food world. The Chinese kitchen was not a place where people used the words ‘genius’, ‘creativity’ or ‘philosophy’. Cooking was work, like farming or collecting trash. It would not get you an invitation to dinner parties, but it would get you a little money to spend, if you were lucky.