Where In The World Are You (and what are you doing there!):
Egypt; Freediving and running a cafe/restaurant called BoxMeal.
How do you define being ‘creative’?
Creative is when I’m motivated, and to be motivated comes from desires. Desires derive from inspiration, which comes from open mindedness. Open mindedness is acquired through journeys. Want to be creative? Travel.
What drives your creative process and where does the inspiration for new ideas happen for you usually?
Inspiration from my travels. Creative process… [that happens] when I’m tasting authentic different cuisines in host countries. The history of how a dish is prepared, the spices used and the origin of those spices and ingredients like how a traditional rice dish from Iran(pulow) traveled to The Stans (pulao in Uzbekistan) and then to India (briyani).
Who’s inspiring you big time right now in the local food industry?
Vendors from the night markets (tamu) in Brunei. Each visit back home, I have never failed to visit tamus. They share their love for our local food such as Nasi Katok, Satay, ABC, Roti John, and Apam Balik and happily share their love of making this food with everyone, whether you are visiting Brunei or living in Brunei. When you ask for the names or when you are interested to know about the dishes they are always polite to answer the same questions over and over again with patience and enthusiasm.
What is the biggest influence Brunei has had on your dishes?
Our truly sincere culture of sharing. We may be a small country but no matter what races make up Brunei, we are genuinely friendly and helpful not only to outsiders but towards our own people. This makes me very proud of who I’m am as a Bruneian, and I want to give this back to my community by sharing what I do best in (cooking) and showcasing our cuisine to the rest of the world. FYI, Nasi Katok will be only available at my restaurant in Dahab, Egypt.