Ex-Masterchef contestant, Billy Law, is a passionate chef and blogger at A Table for Two, with a serious interest in Malaysian cuisine. We caught up with Billy to discuss his popular blog, his love of Malay food, what inspired him to become a chef, his favourite places to eat, drink and play around Sydney and more!
1. What inspired you to become a cook/chef?
I never thought, ‘I will be a chef one day’, but I do know I always loved cooking and hosting dinner parties now and again. My passion for photography and food led me to start a food blog, A Table For Two, where I share my love of food with everyone. Then in 2010, I was on the verge of ditching my 14 years of web design career to start something new, and then Masterchef came along and I thought why not give it a go. I’ve never looked back since.
2. Favourite childhood foodie memory?
My favourite childhood foodie memory is definitely supper after dinner. It is quite common for Malaysians to hang out at the food court or mamak stalls around 10pm to midnight for some street food and to catch up with friends. I remember I always got told off by my mum for eating so little during dinner – little did she know that I was trying to save some stomach space for more street food afterwards!
3. You’re the new ambassador for Malaysia Kitchen Australia – tell us what that’s all about.
As part of Malaysia Kitchen, I am here to help educate fellow Australians about Malaysian flavours and dishes. Malaysian cuisine is the original fusion food, combining the best of native Malay, Chinese and Indian to create unique new dishes. I’ve developed some great recipes for Malaysia Kitchen that are authentic, delicious and perfect for cooks of all levels – check out www.malaysiakitchen.com.auf or more info.
4. You have a big passion for Malaysian food – what makes it so special to you?
Being born and bred in Malaysia, I think the sambal is running through my veins and I simply can’t live without Malaysian food. It is the multiculturalism in Malaysia that makes the food so exciting and diverse. Whenever I am feeling homesick, I always cook my mum’s signature dish, vinegared braised pork belly, and it never fails to heal my homesickness.
5. You blog at A Table For Two – what made you want to start a blog? What can readers expect from your blog?
I started A Table For Two as a hobby, a channel where I could share my photography, and also as a recipe repository that I could share it with anyone who is interested. The blog is almost like an open book of my life really – I share my travel stories and dining experiences as readers tend to like to read about where I go and what I eat.
6. What has been your greatest achievement to date post Masterchef 2011?
It has been a blur since Masterchef. Within the last two years, I’ve done countless cooking demonstrations and classes, run food photography workshops and been involved in many food related projects. But I have to say the greatest achievement is publishing my own cookbook “Have You Eaten?” in September last year. It was a labour of love – I wrote, cooked, tested, photographed and styled the recipes. The book is all my own work and I’m very proud of it.
7. Any big plans you can let us in on for Billy Law in 2014?
There are a few projects in the pipeline including filming a cooking show and I will be writing a second a cookbook. All will soon be revealed, busy busy!
8. Favourite place to EAT in Sydney?
Mamak! The trick is to get there before 6pm to beat the long queue. Once inside you will get to taste the best roti canai and nasi lemak in Sydney. Other favourite places including NaruOne for best Korean Fried Chicken, and Holy Basil at Shark Hotel for a delicious Thai meal.
9. Where do you love having a DRINK in Sydney?
For drinks, I love to hangout at Grandma’s bar on Clarence Street, sometimes Shady Pines Saloon in Darlinghurst. But my ultimate favourite spot for drink is The Glenmore Hotel at The Rocks – cheap pints with the panoramic view of Opera House and Sydney harbour, you simply can’t beat that.
10. Where do you PLAY in Sydney?
Don’t have much time to PLAY these days, but I do have a soft spot for Karaoke to belt out a few tunes now and again. I prefer CEO in Chinatown or Lantern by Wagaya.