Asian Chef de Cuisine, Far & East
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since: 2008
- First Four Seasons assignment: Asian Restaurant Chef, San:Qi, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
- Four Seasons Resort Seychelles; Regent Singapore (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St.Petersburg; Four Seasons Hotel Doha; Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
- Ipoh, Malaysia
- Malay, English, Cantonese, Mandarin
"I am excited to return to India. Where other than this wonderful Garden City after my time in bustling Mumba !” says Chef Leong Then thoughtfully, then adds “but that was many moons ago.”
Indeed, Chef Leong was opening Asian Chef at San Qi at Four Seasons Mumbai, way back in 2008 and quickly won hearts with his Chinese dishes.
“Far & East is very different, I know. And I am filled with a rush of excitement to think of the magic this restaurant will spin from its perch on Level 21 of Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru.” Considering that Far & East is the Hotel’s top dining outlet and one that brings global gourmands flocking to the city, it is an ambitious leap, but one that Chef Leong has taken on with ease.
"Each location brings new challenges and requires me to figure out how I can adapt recipes to incorporate the best of local produce, which in turn allows me to create new dishes - it's exciting, and it's a big part of how my cooking has evolved over the years. "
Having worked across a number of Asian restaurants both within and outside of his home continent, it is perhaps no surprise to learn how much travel has influenced Chef Leong's culinary outlook. Born and raised in Malaysia, it was at the age of 14 that the kitchen first peaked Chef Leong's interest. "Cooking was not something that particularly ran in my family, but it caught my attention. I had always been more focused on my academic studies, yet once I had a taste of the possibilities of the culinary world, I knew this was my calling."
So strong was Chef Leong's passion for cooking that he in turn inspired his two brothers to become chefs, one of them rocking the dining scene in Melbourne.
Chef Leong first started learning his culinary skills when he joined the kitchen team of a local restaurant. During his early years working as a chef in Malaysia, he worked across numerous acclaimed restaurants, always seeking to learn a new specialty from ever-widening regions of Asia. In 2008, he was presented with his first international assignment and joined Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai as Asian Restaurant Chef for the Hotel's signature San:Qi restaurant. "Joining Four Seasons not only allowed me to live and work in different countries and cultures, but also to cook for people from different places; people of varying nationalities and with different expectations of cuisine. I was eager to prepare my food for such diverse audiences."
Following Mumbai, Chef Leong took up the role of Restaurant Chef at Nusantao at Four Seasons Hotel Doha, specialising in Chinese and pan-Asian cuisine, before being part of the opening team for the SinToHo restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg in 2013, which presented a menu of refined Singaporean, Japanese and Chinese dishes. Two years later, it was time for Chef Leong to return to his family and second home of Singapore, joining Regent Singapore, then a Four Seasons hotel.
“There are so many wonderful places in the world to see. I am grateful to have seen, absorbed and experienced many different cultures due to my craft. But everywhere I have been, the Four Seasons touch remains a constant.”
His arrival in Seychelles in November 2017 coincided with the Resort's launch of the new Koi sushi restaurant and a refurbished Zez restaurant. Both outlets made their mark in Asian cuisine, becoming well-loved dining options.
So, does he miss the island life? “I am a complete city person. The endless blues were lovely, but I am happy to be back in the groove of city life,” says Chef Leong.
And Bengaluru is indeed a unique combination of a high tech cityscape as well as a lush space filled with abounding gardens. “Look at the expanse of treetops visible from Far & East,” he says, “I have to say we have some gorgeous views of a greenery filled city.”
Setting a new pace in Bengaluru’s dining circuit, Far & East is creating waves with its outstanding Asian flavours and cutting edge design element.
“Far & East is a very different experience. Not only is the place charming, unique and exciting for guests, it is also a fun playing field for us, chefs. Let’s see how we can make this journey an unforgettable one,” says Chef Leong.