Chef Vic, Manja at Old Malaya, Kuala Lumpur

Interview with Chef Vic, Manja at Old Malaya, Kuala Lumpur

What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am a chef, and the reason why I got into the industry is because of my mother and Gordon Ramsay

Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
Having a full house service accommodating 120 guests with only seven chefs totally changes the environment in the kitchen keeping everyone on their toes. Pressure’s up, fires on full blast, pots and pans are flying everywhere and the managing of all the stations with proper timing and planning to get the food out together for all the tables with well-presented food – that’s wild.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part is of course the satisfaction of having my passion as a career and that I get to touch peoples heart with the food that I have prepared.
The worst part is having to be a militant on quality and plating the food and sometimes seeing my team breaking down in tears but it’s not all bad because we have a reputation to maintain.

What’s your favourite meal and drink at Manja at Old Malaysa?
At Manja at Old Malaya, we have a dish called Gunda-Gunda. It’s a savoury seafood rice which is served in a clay pot. Gunda-Gunda is a blend of Spanish and local flavors which consists of full flavored pandan rice folded with extra virgin coconut oil and a spicy sweet gravy. It’s served with Sabah wild tiger prawns, braised mussels, calamari, seasoned avocado and soft boiled eggs to add creaminess and bind all flavors together.

What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
In my previous job, I was cooking a pot of Kimchi Jigae and it was an urgent order so I was rushing myself while my chef was yelling for the soup. While I was transferring the hot pot with a pot clipper to the landing tray, it slipped and fell! Long story short, my chef threw a pan that hit my face and I was down on the floor bleeding. When I got myself together with no help from anyone, I went back to my line and finished cooking and only after service I went to clinic.

The perfect day off would be…
Would be no phone, no emails, sleeping in and waking up to home cooked food which is rasam, masala fried fish with spicy ginger pickle (ingi puli).

A day in the life of a chef is…
At 10am we start our day by distributing our duties accordingly. With preparation aside there’s another team that handles lunch service. Once the prep is done, we reset the kitchen, prepare staff meals, do a quality control on prepared products, check the stocks and sauces, receive goods from suppliers and check produce, label production date, F.I.F.O, portion control, we take a quick break for lunch and back to the kitchen to set up the stations, check consistency, run a full-fledged dinner service, after service we clean up the kitchen and the grease traps, have a late supper at 12am and home at 1am.

What do you do for fun?
Since I am all about food, I would to go Jalan Alor to savour our local street food like ikan bakar and frogs’ legs.

What’s something you’d like guests to know about Manja at Old Malaya?
Manja at Old Malaya has a variety of unique dishes such as Wagyu Gula Melaka, Tuna Villa Gajah and Rastali Fritters. Also, Manja is in a 100-year-old colonial building at the foot of KL Tower where we offer truly original beverages and dishes from a medley of cuisines

What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
A chilled glass of Pinot Grigio alongside smoked salmon bruschetta with blue cheese mousse. It’s a sensation!

What’s your view on the food scene in Kuala Lumpur?
KL is a melting pot of different nationalities and culture. It is very inspiring to see Malaysians challenging the cultural norm, blending cuisine and taking it to the next level. I really love the new buzz in the KL dining scene.

What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
As we have our own butchery, The Food Company that is based in TTDI. We are going to cater beautiful Christmas roasts, ranging from venison, sous vide turkey, boneless lamb loin and grass fed ribeye on a beautiful sharing platter for our guests to enjoy. For New Year’s Eve, we are going to get a top DJ who will be DJing Old School R&B, Soul, Hip Hop.

Check out some of chef Vic’s dishes here.

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2 Comments

  1. Great interview. His last comment about the Christmas roasts and lamb loin has me drooling!!! 🙂

  2. Just the name and I like the place already, would love to be manja-kan!

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