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TV host Angela May starts a new chapter in food

Angela May is involved in sourcing for ingredients and creating dishes for her restaurant, Angela May Food Chapters.
Angela May is involved in sourcing for ingredients and creating dishes for her restaurant, Angela May Food Chapters. PHOTOS: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

TV host Angela May says opening a restaurant was a natural progression from hosting food and travel shows

After more than a decade of hosting food and travel shows on television and food-related events such as Bocuse d'Or (World Cooking Competition) and the World Pastry Cup in France, TV personality Angela May finally decided to open her own restaurant this year.

Angela May Food Chapters at Robinsons The Heeren launched in April, serving contemporary cuisine with an Asian touch.

The 41-year-old, who is of American and Thai descent, says opening her own restaurant was a natural progression from fronting programmes such as UK-produced travel show Planet Food.

"I have always been in F&B. I've had a very rounded and interesting career path that is quite different from the normal trajectory of most chefs. Hence, opening a restaurant felt like a very natural thing to do."

The restaurant is a partnership between May, Robinsons department store and Deliciae Hospitality Management group, which also runs French brasserie L'Entrecote, Sabio tapas bar and burger joint &Made.

Born in the United States, May moved to Thailand at the age of 13. She started modelling shortly after being talent-scouted. In 2003, driven by her passion for food, she attended cooking school Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, where she achieved a Le Diplome de Cuisine. Shortly after, she embarked on her TV hosting career.

  • ON HER BAG

  • This Jil Sander bag was a gift from a friend. It is perfect because it is a bottomless pit that I can use to carry everything I need. I love the muted colour that is feminine and delicate. The leather is incredibly soft as well, which makes it very comfortable to carry.

In her new role as restaurateur, May is involved in everything from sourcing for ingredients to creating dishes for the menu.

The bachelorette says her food creations are inspired by multiple things, including new ingredients she comes across.

"A local farmer brought over a sample of some crisped wasabi lettuce, which is not from the wasabi plant but has a similar burn. I tried it and thought it would be perfect for my food."

This led to her experimenting with the lettuce until she found the right flavours that could balance and temper its heat. The result - a salad with shaved asparagus, arugula mint, crisped wasabi lettuce and a slow cooked egg.

Although she will continue to host culinary events and TV shows, May says she will be at the restaurant as often as she can.

"This is my new baby, I want to enjoy this experience and be there every minute I can," says May, who intends to open more outlets soon though she does not specify where or when.

When she does have some downtime, she goes for walks and runs. She also recently took up painting.

"I get together with some of my girlfriends and we will have a painting session at one of our houses with snacks, a cheese plate, fruit and wine. It's a safe environment where we can paint whatever we want."

Asked if she paints pictures of food, May laughs and says what she paints is completely abstract.

"It's pure therapy and not a talent."


Things in her bag

Cinnamon bark

This is cinnamon bark from Saigon. It contains more cinnamon oil than cinnamon from other countries such as China or Sri Lanka, so the flavour is stronger.

The bark is available in sheets and I chop it up and use it as a breath freshener rather than eating mints.

Eyelash curler

I do not leave the house without curling my lashes. I have very straight lashes so the curler helps my eyes look more awake. I carry a spare in my bag just in case.

Chanel mascara

I love mascara because it helps me look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It perks up my eyes and face.

Ray-Ban rose-tinted aviators

Everyone wants to see the world through rose-tinted lenses. I bought these online and I like that they are lightweight and easy to carry around.

Sony A6000 camera

I am always taking photos of the restaurant and the food here to post online. I use this when I travel as well.

Nylon bag

I always carry a lightweight environmentally friendly bag and use it to carry any last-minute purchases, rather than using plastic bags.

Cocoa butter from Cococare

I'm always burning myself in the kitchen. So this helps the healing process and it is easy to apply and feels very hydrating.

Laptop

I carry this around everywhere. I am constantly on the move and it helps me keep track of my work and my schedule. It is with me even in the kitchen. It sometimes gets covered in flour, powdered sugar or cocoa powder.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2016, with the headline 'Starting a new chapter in food'. Print Edition | Subscribe