Rachel Khoo

Notebook

Posted by Rachel

March 27th, 2010

Behind the scenes of Edible immigration tales

Breakfast at K.L. airport: Soft boiled eggs, Kaya toast and Tee tarik

Breakfast at K.L. airport: Soft boiled eggs, Kaya toast and Tee tarik

The journey began with a Eurostar train from Paris to London followed by a 12 hour flight from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur where I had to strip off all my winter layers (tights, jumpers, jacket, scarf, gloves, woolly socks…) as Malaysian heat is like being in an enormous Sauna. Enough time in Kuala Lumpur to enjoy some Won Ton Mee, one of my favourite dishes. Quick breakfast of soft boiled eggs, Kaya (coconut jam) toast and teh tarik before boarding another 8 hour flight to Sydney. Food on the flights consisted of a curry option for dinner, lunch and breakfast. That’s Malaysian airlines for you.

Sky chefs loading food onto Malaysian airlines plane

Sky chefs loading food onto Malaysian airlines plane

8 hours later touchdown in Sydney where it was pleasantly hot but thankfully without the stickiness. It was straight in a cab to Edible Immigration Tales Headquarters. No time for jetlag as there was plenty to discuss, prepare and organise. My fellow foodie partner in crime, Frankie and I had been working on this project since November when I had booked my flight. Menu ideas, press and marketing campaign, bookings and other bits ‘n bops had been done via emails, Skype calls, photos and waving things at our tiny web cams. So it was good to be able to sit down and discuss things face-to-face

Rachel Khoo - Writing the tea labels

Writing the tea labels – Ask first © 2010 Rachel Khoo. All rights reserved.

The following 5 days were a mad rush of running around, cooking, shopping, organising, sticking…. basically turning an apartment into a restaurant. I got stuck into writing all the menus, tea labels and edible immigration facts by hand with a pot of ink and quill which took me a good half a day to do. Needless to say by the end of it I had hand cramps and my fingers were stained black from the ink.  I did manage to get out and visit Sam the butcher, the local organic shop and the supermarket.

Frankie piping pavlova nests

Frankie piping pavlova nests

Last minute testing/cooking would kick off once Frankie had come back from her day job (still don’t know how she managed to do both). We then roped in the whole family with Frankie’s parents picking up various groceries, chairs and running other errands. Frankie’s sister helping out on the night and Frankie’s boyfriend putting up with having a restaurant in his home three nights running. BIG thank you!

Rachel Khoo - Wrapping up damper bread

Wrapping up the damper bread – Ask first © 2010 R khooks. Rachel Khoo. All rights reserved.

On the day of the first event it was an early start as Frankie and I were pretty excited about checking out the Sydney Morning Herald to see what they had written about us. We were relieved to see that it wasn’t an exposé about the “illegal” underground dining scene 😉

Last minute testing/cooking would kick off once Frankie had come back from her day job (still don't know how she managed to do both). We then roped in the whole family with Frankie's parents picking up various groceries, chairs and running other errands. Frankie's sister helping out on the night and Frankie's boyfriend putting up with having a restaurant in his home three nights running. BIG thank you!

Edible immigration tales table – Ask first © 2010 R Khooks. Rachel Khoo. All rights reserved.

Things started to come together when I saw the table set up. We had collected plenty of jars, tins and bottles for the table setting. Naturally they were all scrubbed meticulously before hand. I nipped to the beach to pick up some sand and shells to make little glass candle lanterns.

Handwritten menu with a list of things to do – Photo: Howard Trang eatshowandtell.com

A wall with sketches of all dishes/courses, guestlist and rundown for the night were hungup in the kitchen. Followed by more cooking. Cutlery and glasses polished. Nice soap and candles in the bathroom. Quick tidy in the kitchen. Then a last minute shower and some warpaint (make up). A last run through of the menu. The aprons were tied on, candles lit and Australian music mix put on and a BIG deep breath before we opened the door to the first guests…to be continued

My attempt of sketching out the dishes – Photo: Howard Trang eatshowandtell.com

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