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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF CHEF AIVEN

Born in the vibrant bustling city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Chef Aiven has always been fascinated by the operations of the kitchen ever since he could remember. He’s a chef of humble beginnings, who began his culinary journey working at local restaurants in his hometown. “[There], I fell in love with the work, the environment and decided this was what I wanted to pursue further,” he says. 

As Yum Sing House started to come alive, Chef Aiven began to develop a menu that intertwined his love for Canto cuisine whilst coupled with contemporary flavours to create the dishes and crowd favourites you know & love today. Join us as we step into a day in the life of head chef Aiven Lee, how the love & breadth of food knowledge has been translated from the kitchen to the fiery dishes served.  

2:00 PM

By this time, I’ve picked up my coffee and headed through the doors of Yum Sing House. I greet the team, check the bookings & all the fresh produce deliveries. We work with some great local suppliers such as Flinders & Co. who supply our grass-fed T-Bone steak and D & K Live Seafood. Long & the team look after us with Jade Tiger abalone & Pacific oysters. Now it’s time to put on the apron, sharpen my knives and spend some time prepping for the evening.

4:00 PM

As we get closer to service, it’s time to fire up the woks and heat up the charcoal for the hibachi grill. Woks are an absolute staple in any Canto kitchen, the aromas from the wok hei (“wok energy” or “wok breath” in Cantonese) provide such a unique smokey flavour when we toss our X.O. Lap Cheong Fried Rice. On the other hand we use the hibachi on dishes like the T-Bone Steak & Honey Soy Sticky Pork Ribs. The flavourful aroma absorbs right into the meat, giving it that unmistakable smokey, charred flavour. It’s all about layers of flavours and texture at YSH. We use the same approach for all meat & vegetarian dishes. 

5:00 PM

It’s time to whip up dinner for the team, to keep everybody topform for service, I’ve got to ensure their bellies are full and they’re fueled up. The staff meals are generally made with excess stock, we try to keep wastage as minimal as possible. In saying that, I do like to have a bit of fun. I remember one evening we had Hainanese Chicken, another time we had extra pork ribs, so I made a hearty hot & sour soup for the team, they loved that one especially in this cold weather. We all generally sit down together, managers, FOH & BOH. It’s nice to connect, chat and laugh before the storm of service. 

6:00PM

Service is now in full swing, it’s vital to stay focused & alert. As we generally have two seating sessions & full team to manage, I’ve learnt to remain calm even when it’s stressful. Everyday brings new challenges and you just never know what you’re in for. Despite that, I love the hustle & bustle atmosphere here at Yum Sing House, from the fierce inferno of the woks, to the buzz of chatter and the occasional Yummmm…Sing! (“Yum Sing” translates to “cheers” in Canto).  

This sums up my life in a day of a chef, it can be stressful, exhausting but highly rewarding too. There is something magnificent in seeing the results of your work translated immediately into dishes & the enjoyment on people’s faces when they take that first bite.  

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