Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dining with Dragons

In my hands is a wonderful book. Titled “Dining with Dragons” and it chronicles the colorful life of one amazing 75-year old woman.

In fact, it is not only autobiographical but the 382-page “food memoir” is a delicate smorgasbord of delicious recipes, darling stories of women, delectable threads of the country’s past that brilliantly evoke the beguiling charm of a forgotten Malaya, plus many other delightful nuggets of bite-sized information that bring back fond memories of a country that is today, sadly, no longer the same. 

On Friday, I was fortunate to have met the author herself! She is Malayan-born and I was privileged to have been invited to be at the Royal Selangor Golf Club in KL’s Jalan Tun Razak for the book’s launch organized by Angela Yap and Akasaa.

Carol Selva Rajah is an extraordinary woman. The sweet thing authored fourteen cookbooks and has been dubbed “Superchef” and “Queen of Nyonya Cuisine”.

She is an internationally-acclaimed authority on food history and culinary art.

She has been named one of Australia’s Great Women Chefs and a recipient of the Jaguar-Gourmet Traveler Award.

She is the first Asian woman invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York. [In case you didn’t know, each year the James Beard House at 167 W, 12th Street in New York City hosts more than 200 dinners featuring selected, acclaimed chefs. Notable past chefs have included Daniel Boulud, Emeril Lagasse, Nobu Matsuhisa, Jacques Pépin and Marcus Samuelsson].

The accolades are plentiful and really long – she is an icon, after all.

The book event was graced by another remarkable lady, the British High Commissioner, Ipoh-born Victoria Treadell.

I have not met a diplomat who’s not afraid to speak her mind. I suppose, she is a dragon too.

As for the book, it is a must-read! When the prologue has these lines: “Some women around me were dragons: they breathed fire into my life! They planted a taste sense that eventually flared into my passion for food – its history and culture, my love of cooking and sharing food, treating it as comfort, love and, most of all, a heritage to cherish” – I am already enthusiastic, eager and excited.

Do yourself a favor! Get this book “Dining with Dragons”!

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