If you happen to be visiting Melbourne from now ’till August, read on to find out where you can get a taste of Diana’s famous hawker-style street food!
The one thing we Malaysians have in common is our love for food. Which is why we found it only fitting to shine the spotlight on this culinary queen to see what she’s been up to since her historic MasterChef victory and what else she has up her sleeve to make Malaysia proud.
Rising to instant international fame after taking home the coveted MasterChef trophy last July, this 31-year-old Perak-born Johorian has since left her job as a Senior Analyst at the world-renowned accounting firm Deloitte to pursue her dream of making her mark in the food industry – starting with the launch of her first food concept Chanteen at HWKR, Melbourne’s new hawker-style marketplace. Having just opened its doors in February, HWKR showcases four tenancies, with Chanteen offering a variety of Fusion-Asian cuisines ranging from traditional Malaysian street food to desserts.
FEMALE: Were you a MasterChef fan before going on the show? What surprised you the most about your experience, and are there any behind-the-scenes secrets you can reveal to us?
Diana: “I have always been a fan of the show. I think being on the show has given me a taste of the world of the entertainment world and how certain things are done just for TV. Like how the judges would walk around tasting our food whilst we were cooking but when they did it on camera, the food’s already cold. The amount of swearing that wasn’t shown on TV, the different camera angles used to get the right second shot and the hours spent filming each day at the studio. Also, we were sponsored by Jaguar but driven from the house to the studio in a bus, then only hopped into a Jaguar to go around the roundabout in the garden.”
F: You’ve mentioned that a lot of your love for cooking comes from your childhood. Is there any particular food memory you’d like to share with us?
D: “I was taught good knife skills at a very young age, given I had to prep vegetables for dinner most nights. My parents also had a veggie patch and I had to pick herbs from the garden to cook within 10 minutes so they are the freshest they can be. They also shopped at the local wet markets (which I hated) and that taught me about the provenance of food and how important it is to eat well.”
F: Btw, congratulations on CHANTEEN by Diana Chan! What about it would you like Malaysians visiting Melbourne to know so they’d drop by for a visit?
D: “That they can expect a good variety of Fusion Asian cuisine ranging from epic sandwiches to traditional Malaysian street food to great desserts. I’ve had Malaysians living in Australia come into Chanteen to mainly have the Char Kuey Teow and Satays, and they leave saying that it’s the best they’ve had away from home. So that’s a great thing to know that I can remind them of Malaysia through my food.”