Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Bowl & The Bald

His initials are the same as mine. He's also a 'Leong' and Cantonese. He loves his food and gives due consideration to the need to exercise. That's as far as the similarities go.

S.L. not only cooks, but his dishes and presentations have earned him prestigious awards and titles. Among them, 'Asian Ethnic Chef of the Year' at the World Gourmet Summit in 2001, 2002, 2004 and this year's regional award. Celebrity Master Chef Sam Leong has also been Singapore's representative at some of the world's most esteemed culinary events and food festivals.

Despite being the creative maestro behind the menus and kitchens of more than 30 of Tung Lok world-class restaurants, Sam is a man with simple tastes and home-cooked meals. In The Living Room, he reminisced about a simple dish his mother used to prepare for him when he was a child. It was rice steamed to moisture packed perfection, and then with a raw egg cracked open and poured into a holed-out centre of the ball of rice, it is mixed with salt and pepper. He says that his wife, Forest now prepares the same dish for his children, who also love the dish. Sounds like a must-try in my own kitchen. It also sounds pretty harmless since there's no need for an open flame that may spark a kitchen fire in my home.

But does Sam cook for his family at home? Don't expect him too. He puts it down to the choice of food courts and food so varied and easily available when he lives (in Jurong) that it doesn't make any sense for a corporate chef to go home and wear the same hat. Yes, even chefs need a break from the kitchen.

Yet his break doesn't extend to the writing of cookbooks. Fresh off the printing house of Marshall Cavendish is Sam's third cookbook, A Taste Of Home. With a focus on simple-to-prepare home-cooked dishes, the book was born from public feedback received that his two previous titles included recipes that required ingredients or condiments that were not easily available for purchase by the ordinary 'auntie'. So their cries have not gone unheeded. A Taste of Home (RRP: $29.96, incl. of GST) is available now at all major bookstores.

By sheer coincidence, our other guest in The Living Room today had also recently released a book published by Marshall Cavendish. Listing the issues relating to men as they age and how these can be taken in their stride, the book's titled Managing Male Ageing (RRP: $19-79, incl. of GST) and is written by Consultant with the Department of Urology at Changi General Hospital, Dr Ng Kok Kit.

It's about time the men had a book that gives overdue attention to male ageing issues beyond the battle of the bulge and male pattern hair loss. The 156-page book is simple and well-structured. Among the easy-to-read chapters are dedicated sections that address erectile dysfunction, weak urine stream, osteoporosis and forgetfulness. So if you're in or beyond your 40s or know a man who is, a most useful book to take into your senior years. Who says the men don't get it?!

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