Chef Keonhwa Lee, Chef Talk

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Chef Keonhwa Lee, Chef Talk

Chef Keonhwa Lee   Chef Keonhwa Lee
At Baba Dining Lounge


“When I cook I’m happy. It’s not just happiness however as it has become my passion – even though I learnt to cook a little bit late in life!”

For this column in the first issue of Phuketindex.com we spoke with a ‘Thai Seafood Fusion Chef’ about his cooking style. In this issue we speak with an equally interesting culinary connoisseur; a foreign female chef from Baba Dining Lounge at Sri panwa.

Miss Keonhwa Lee or ‘Connie’ as we were asked to call her, is originally from Korea though Connie informs us ‘At first, cooking was my hobby but now it’s my job’ we are surprised to learn that Connie prior to becoming a chef studied and worked for many years in the field of psychology.

Indeed Connie tells us it was not easy pursuing her dream of becoming a chef because despite her love of cooking, her parents held traditional ways of thinking and wanted their daughter to become a teacher or doctor. In short like many Asian parents they expected their daughter to undertake a job associated with ‘dignity and respect’.

Resultantly after many discussions with her parents Connie chose to solve the matter herself, by contacting and applying to join a culinary arts course at a Hotel School in Switzerland. A country renowned as a world leader for providing service and hospitality.

The course entailed studying for one full year in school followed by another full year’s practical training during which time she learnt about all aspects of cookery. Connie inform us that

“Despite the fact that it was very tough studying there, they taught me everything including how to make the job easier by working cleverly.”

Connie’s current career however began one day when by chance she met Sri panwa’s Sous Chef - Jimmy. It was a chance meeting that would lead to Connie flying to Phuket and becoming a chef at Baba Dining Lounge where she is responsible for hot kitchen, cold kitchen and pastries.
“I’m interested in the cold section area; appetizer, salad, etc. I work on the details of it, the decoration” Connie informs us when we asked her about her cooking style.
Chef Keonhwa Lee

Initially however, for the first few months Connie tells us that she did not find life easy, as she faced problems with language and communication.

“It was a struggle at the start; but after working with the others for a while it becomes easier. Now we stick together and gradually we learn to understand each other’s methods”.

Connie has now overcome the initial difficulties having worked at Baba Dining Lounge for nine months, so we asked her what she thought was next? “After I gain enough experience, I would like to be a teacher, I want to teach people how to cook” Connie informs us - a sentiment that obviously epitomizes her love of cookery.


Finally Connie told us for her, being a Chef is akin to what she was taught in schoo
l “Passion, Patience and Pride”.

Phuketindex.com thanks Connie for her valuable time and wishes her all the best at Baba Dining Lounge.


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