Growing up in a multiracial family, Ili Sulaiman says that she developed her tastebuds eating different cuisines and got her ‘masterchef ’ skills from the women in her family. “My grandmother, mother and aunts were the ones who passed their culinary skills down to me. The training started at the age of five and is still ongoing,” shares Ili.
As her parents worked in the airline industry, she’s blessed to have gotten the chance to travel quite a fair bit as well. “Every year, they’d take me somewhere new and what I mostly remember about the destination was always linked to the food I ate. Food was always a constant joy in my life – from cooking with my family to learning about food on my travels and also using and cooking food to connect with people,” explains Ili, who studied business at the Queen Mary University of London.
Upon graduating, she decided to stay on and work there, where she worked at a law firm before returning to the service industry, joining Mosimann’s Private Dining Club as an event coordinator.
After winning Asia’s biggest food talent search, Food Hero search in 2015, Ili set up her website – dishbyili.com to share her passion for cooking. The website isn’t only well-known in Malaysia but all over the world, which makes the bubbly lass a celebrity chef to be reckoned with.
“This year, my aim is to encourage people to cook more so that they can control what they eat. I want people to have that ‘Oh! That’s easy, I can cook that’ attitude when they see my dishes,” she says. “Other than building my momentum by creating digital content, I’ve also been busy being the spokesperson and brand ambassador for KHH Double Lion, a fruit juice manufacturing company.”
Ili says that one of her biggest challenges is dealing with personal growth. “I just have to play multiple roles in life to piece things together. At the end of the day, someone who’s in their locus of control that inspires change – big or small, is who I’d consider to be a SuperFEMALE.”
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