Sean Connolly, the renowned chef behind Asian Food Channel (AFC)’s “On The Grill” and “Under The Grill” presented an exclusive “Sean Connolly Grilled” dinner on Monday 30 September 2013. During his visit in Singapore, he curated some of his signature dishes paired with the finest Glenfiddich scotch whisky for his fans while sharing personal stories of his journey in the culinary world. Visitfor more details.
We had a few minutes to sit down and chat with Chef Sean Connolly as he shares his thoughts and experiences:
Q: When did you discover you had a passion for food?
Sean: My grandmother and my mother love cooking at home. However, my biggest inspiration was my father who was an academic. He could tell that I wasn’t academically inclined and he got me a job at a five stars hotel. I would work for free on Friday and Saturday nights and that is where I learnt about teamwork and passion.
Q: Tell me about your first big break
Sean: Ten years ago when I was 35, I was a regular chef and this restaurant that I was working for needed a celebrity chef. The CEOs started to invest in me and they created a platform for me where I had to perform. If I was not good enough I would not be where I am today. I am not an overnight success, I have been cooking for 35 years and it was only in the last five years that things have started to get busy with TV and stuffs.
Q: What inspires your food?
Sean: I lived in Australia but I was originally from the UK. I live in Australia for 27 years now and I am surrounded by different things. My training is in classic French cooking but I am also inspired by Japanese and Asian food. I am a big fan of spice and I use a lot of chilli. I get inspired by my surroundings and everyone has a different food journey. You tend to believe your journey has never been travelled before but it has been travelled by many people along the way.
Q: How was your experience with your first TV series, “My Family Feast”?
Sean: The most beautiful thing is having families cooking together. A lot of the complex food and fine dining is only one percent of the nation and everyone else eats simple dishes such as Yorkshire Pudding, Toast Beef, Nasi Goreng, Fried Rice etc. The most important thing at the end of the day is to bring people together at the dining table.
Another interesting thing about “My Family Feast” is how within two miles of a city centre in Sydney, there are over 30 different nationalities, very diverse cultures. We have Malaysians; Italians Indonesians-it’s interesting and inspiring.
Q: What are some high and low points of your career?
I think food critics have been part of some of the lows but they also give you a lot. I believe that every food you put on the table has a risk of ruining your reputation. This is something I tell my chef, that you have to understand why I am so passionate and particular about how I want my food to be because every bad dish you serve is a negative against your name.
Another low is that although I absolutely love this job, I do miss my family and my children. It’s a choice I made and it is a career I choose so it’s kind of bittersweet.
Q: If your children want to follow your path, what do you have to say to them?
Sean: I would not want my daughter to be a chef but my boys can do it. I’ll prefer my daughter to maybe be a food journalist or photographer.
Sean Connolly’s television program “On the Grill” (six episodes, 30 minutes) airs every Thursday on Starhub Channel 435 at 9pm from 26 September till 31st October 2013. The celebrated chef will share culinary tips, filmed against the beautiful scenery of New Zealand.