For the Love of Food with Geraldine Chew (Part II)

We’re back with Part II of For the Love of Food, our blog series where we go behind the scenes with the people who work to create all things food.

We collaborated with aspiring food stylist and local Johor Bahru girl, Geraldine Chew and picked her brains for juicy tricks of the trade and a glimpse into what goes on behind the camera.

Let’s dig in!

Deconstructed Croffle from Shakespeare Milkshakes

Deconstructed Croffle from Shakespeare Milkshakes

The Croffle was deconstructed to its bare ingredients and shapes, and then repeated against a contrasting background to create an almost graphical presentation inspired by pop-art. Who says you can’t play with food?
Nutella Banana Crepe from Shakespeare Milkshakes

Nutella Banana Crepe from Shakespeare Milkshakes

Q: List three of your favourite places to eat or drink and why.

G: 1. Furusato Japanese Restaurant (JB)

This has to be my go-to place for a Jap fix whenever I’m back in JB. I still find it pretty authentic as compared to the rest which has been localised in terms of the flavours and ingredients used. It has quite a selection of small plates/dishes which I always look for when I’m dining out because I love variety - plus it’s always nicer to pair an assortment of tastes & flavours with drinks (Sake in this case), rather than filling up with a main dish!

2. Blu Kozina (SG)

I’m very fond of Mediterranean flavours and always on a lookout for new Med places, but this has got to be the best Greek food I’ve had to date. I love how Greek cuisine encompasses fresh ingredients that are just simply seasoned with olive oil, salt & pepper - over the grill or oven baked; bringing out the authenticity and natural flavours of the produce itself. And all of Blu Kozina’s dishes are actually prepared with organic cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil from their family-owned estate in Greece. They’re truly spot on in providing a variety of honest food paired with good wine, ambience (blue & white setting which will transport you to Greece) and heartwarming Greek hospitality from the owners themselves. Still my favourite place after all these years to have a Fava & Pita fix with fresh Xtapodi (grilled octopus)!

3. Tray Cafe (KL)

This cafe absolutely lures me in with their rustic cake display - very much akin to Ottolenghi’s. They have a wide variety of desserts and also savoury pastries, with their salads and mains made fresh to order. You can also get hearty brunches and special roasts on weekends. They may be a small establishment but it’s cafes like these that you know the owner strives to serve up wholesome food that are good for you (and yummy too!) I’m always on a lookout for places like these, as opposed to larger, franchised establishments. Their homemade cakes are definitely a must! No waste of calories I assure you haha.

Uji Matcha Crepe from Shakespeare Milkshakes

Uji Matcha Crepe from Shakespeare Milkshakes

Food ingredients are like paint and the dish a painting. But beyond aesthetics, food offers the complexity of flavors that can be mix and match. This Uji Matcha Crepe is deliciously paired with red bean and how well do the colors mix!

Q: What are your thoughts on the food & beverage scene in Johor Bahru?

G: JB’s food and beverage scene has rapidly grown over these couple of years, and frankly I’m quite overwhelmed with its offerings. However, I believe there is still room for improvement in terms of the standards and food quality. People are getting more adventurous and open with trying new cuisines/ flavours these days, so I believe the demand is there to support the growing F&B market. The quality of the food will need to be maintained and will be the greatest factor in keeping the business viable in this competitive industry.

Cauliflower from Tropique Café & Restaurant

Cauliflower from Tropique Café & Restaurant

When Cauliflower is done right, it can be prepared in a myriad of ways. Blanched, roasted or pureed, this dish is proof that this vegetable can be more than it seems.
Butter Fish from Tropique Café & Restaurant

Butter Fish from Tropique Café & Restaurant

 
Tortellini from Tropique Cafe & Restaurant

Tortellini from Tropique Cafe & Restaurant

Upon knowing these Tortellini were made fresh in-house, I knew I had to get a work-in-process shot. These tiny morsels sure do pack a punch of flavors.

Q: Any tips or tricks for beginners looking to go into food marketing?

G: For a start, you’ve got to love food and eating for sure. Food marketing will involve you to be constantly updated with the food industry - being creative and innovative with marketing campaigns and promotions as it’s a highly competitive industry which changes rapidly. You’ve also got to be ready to be on the go and be able think on your feet. As the food business is one that never sleeps, you might also have to work on weekends and after office hours. So having the passion for food and marketing goes a long way! Good luck :)

Geraldine Chew,  Aspiring Food Stylist

Geraldine Chew, Aspiring Food Stylist

Thank you for tuning in! If you missed it, check out Part I of the series where she styled dishes from Faculty of Caffeine and The Replacement Lodge & Kitchen. Be sure to check out her feed @geraldinechm for even more goodness and follow The Merk Group for the best foodie content in town!