On a sabbatical to unleash her full potential in the kitchen — in her case two kitchens, one indoor and one outdoor on the balcony of her charming black and white home, meet Liyana.

What is your background and what do you do?
I am a 28 year old day dreamer who currently spends my time doing some creative thinking and R&D in food. I did some marketing and producer jobs previously and decided to take a sabbatical and do what I love most, creating and cooking. I consider myself as Malay more than anything else. I am also married to a Chinese-Filipino and he is my happy place.

How did you get into cooking?
I was very sporty in school. I also consume a lot of food due to me being very active. I remembered growing up I wasn’t a fan of Malay food as I find it too heavy and complex. I wanted something simpler. So I remembered when I was 11, my daily routine after school is to cook a simple meal for myself when I arrived home. Fried rice, sandwiches and pasta were some of the meals I prepared. Since then I cook regularly for myself, family and friends.
Now I’ve grown to love Malay food, especially Asam Pedas.

What motivates or inspires you to cook?
I never went to culinary school nor was I trained by a Michelin starred chef. I was always curious about what I am capable of doing without being classically trained. Dining in restaurants, travelling and looking at food images on Instagram inspired me to attempt and recreate the dishes.
I also love to see people’s reaction and listen to their comments when they taste my food. Once I cooked a rustic Porcini Risotto for an Italian father who speaks very little English and he said my risotto tastes more authentic than his grandmother’s risotto!
Things like that make me really happy and motivates me to push harder.

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Honest, Curious, Recluse

Favourite meal to cook for the one you love?
Beef Wellington

For friends?
Lobster Paella

Any self-care practice or daily rituals?
Not really. The only daily thing I do is to drink Jamu first thing in the morning and moisturize my skin.

Best part of the cooking process?
From conceptualizing to plating. It’s therapeutic for me.

Favourite travel destination?
Spain. From pintxos to tapas to paella to the wines from Rioja, from the stunning mezquitas to the ancient palaces to the massive architectural museums, from the flamenco dance to the clicking of castanets which tells the sorrow times of the gypsies migration....there are so many things about Spain you can fall in love with.

Favourite restaurant?
Canabota in Seville. They do only seafood and the quality is out of this world.

Food is medicine - agree?
Absolutely. Apart from environmental factors and genetics, what you consume is a major part of the outcome.

Lastly complete this sentence - “Love is …”
Love is always fair.

Liyana wears Zodiac Taurus Bangle, she features in our Found lookbook.
Her dishes are served at #liyanakitchenprivé
PYAR Stories celebrates the human potential to create, everyone  has a unique talent and a unique way of expressing it. Through these stories — we aim to create meaningful exchanges motivated by love and the pursuit of a more love conscious life.

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