When you hail from a family of chefs, your foray into the kitchen seems almost predestined. For Joe Leong, however, his father, celebrity chef Sam Leong, didn’t originally approve of his journey into the culinary arts.
“I grew up watching my parents cook, so it sort of rubbed off on me. But when I expressed an interest in cooking, my dad was initially angry. Eventually, he accepted it and guided me towards my first job at pastry chef Janice Wong’s 2am:dessertbar when I was 16 years old,” says Joe.
Once the 25-year-old completed his O levels, he dove straight into the business. He worked at various establishments before landing his current position as junior sous chef at Forest, the contemporary Chinese fine dining restaurant helmed by his father in Resorts World Sentosa. He is in charge of designing the dessert menu.
But even after all that time spent in the kitchen, Joe still loves wearing his chef’s whites. So much so that his off-duty clothes tend to resemble his uniform. “Almost a quarter of my wardrobe consists of chef’s whites, and the rest are Mandarin collared shirts. I’d stock up every week, and at one time, I even bought up to 30 shirts. Sometimes my friends think I’m wearing the same thing, but it’s really important for me to put on a clean shirt,” he explains.
Then again, don’t peg him as a uniform dresser just yet. He wouldn’t rule out experimenting with fashion. “I wouldn’t say there’s anything I wouldn’t wear, even a colourful polka-dot shirt, especially if it’s a gift. Unless its latex, or a pair of really small trunks on the beach,” he chuckles.
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