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Spice of life: Former restaurateur Aziza Ali is a busy woman

From writing to painting to designing jewellery, former restaurateur Aziza Ali is one busy woman these days

Published on May 6, 2013 11:40 AM

When Aziza Ali tells you with a brilliant smile that she has prepared "something light and simple" for tea, she really means she has concocted a feast.

She reappears from her kitchen bearing mee siam, having made the rempah or spice paste for the noodles and accompanying gravy from scratch. It is nothing short of delicious.

But one would expect no less. After all, the name Aziza is synonymous with good food, warm hospitality and an unparalleled vivaciousness.

It is the name of Singapore's first upmarket Malay restaurant in Emerald Hill, which Ms Aziza, now 63 and a food consultant and events organiser, ran from 1979 to 1998.

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Background story

My life so far

“I gave my all to my restaurant business to make it work. I didn’t know it was going to work, butI knew I had to give it my all.”

Ms Aziza Ali on how determined she was to make a name for the restaurant

“I grew up ‘in’ the restaurant. I learnt about people and have also become more understanding and accepting as time goes by.”

On how challenges have shaped her

“As a boss, you have to be the stronger person no matter what you are going through. You need to be dependable, someone whom your staff can go to for help. Don’t pass on the negative energy to them.”

On her management style

“It is not that I do not want to relive Aziza’s. If I reopen it, I want to do it well and I will have to be there, but that time has passed. I am not young anymore and I don’t have the same energy. I don’t want to be tied down.”

On why she has been hesitant to reopen Aziza’s despite numerous opportunities