Creating precious bonds with cooking
By Jude Toyat
Chef Abdul Muluk Rambli has always loved cooking and aspires to become a businessman focusing on culinary-related activities in the near future.
Hailing from Bintulu, Sarawak, he was inspired to become a chef from his father who used to enlist his help to cook for wedding feasts in their community when he was a young boy.
“At the age of 21, I was the first Sarawakian to undertake a Diploma in Culinary Studies in Shah Alam,” he said when interviewed by The Borneo Post SEEDS. “This allowed me to venture out of Sarawak for the first time and gain more knowledge.”
Muluk pointed out that his interest in cooking developed when he was undergoing his Diploma in Culinary Studies at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Shah Alam.
“I nearly gave it up because my friends in the village did not understand why I was doing it and bullied me,” he said. “Thanks to my then-lecturer who encouraged me to continue, I persevered and received my Diploma in Culinary Studies in 1988.”
The best thing about being a chef for him is seeing the delight on people’s faces when they see the delicious spread in front of them.
“Some of the best moments in my life with my family and cherished ones have been spent bonding over home-made meals cooked with love and care,” he explained.
His career as a chef has brought him to many established hotels around the region including Holiday Inn on the Park, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur, Hotel Rasa Sayang Pulau Pinang, The Hilton Kuching as well as a short stint in Brunei.
“Shortly after graduating, I became a catering consultant and also lectured part-time at UiTM before joining Nestle as a catering specialist in 1989.
“At Nestle, I was placed with the sales and promotion department to liaise with five star hotels within the Klang Valley,” he said of his early career as a chef.
In 1992, he decided to part ways with Nestle and return to Sarawak.
“I opened my own catering business called Rambros Enterprise and one of the first jobs I was tasked with was to cater for 800 workers at a staff canteen.
“As fate would have it, in 2005, I was asked to be an Executive Chef for Maggi and it is definitely a highlight in my career and a proud moment for me as a Sarawakian from East Malaysia,” said Muluk, adding that he has always believed that people appreciate home cooked meals more. He finds that cooking at home with the family also promotes precious bonding moments, a belief he shares with family-centric Maggi.
On his role with Maggi, he explained that he worked with Maggi on all aspects, from product branding to recipe development and promoting Maggi products throughout Malaysia.
“To date, I believe I have contributed to the development of hundreds of Maggi seasoning mixes, Maggi instant noodles, and their respective tastemaker powders,” he added.
In life, Muluk says that he has always felt content and satisfied with his achievements so far and anything else would be a new challenge.
“My future plans would include retiring and being involved in social work. It is time to give back and contribute to the community especially the less fortunate,” he added.
On what he finds special about being a chef, he said that it was the astounding level of involvement in the development process and to see the end result being loved and enjoyed by all Malaysians.
“Maggi helps to turn everyday cooking into a pleasurable experience and I am proud to have been able to achieve that together with Maggi.
“Together with Maggi, I have travelled to London, Paris, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, China, Korea, Germany and Switzerland to promote Malaysian cuisine. It is an invaluable experience to me as a chef,” said Muluk, who specialises in contemporary and Malay cuisine.
Muluk believes the most important trait for a chef to have is solid passion for food and cooking.
The most memorable challenge he has had so far is cooking for VVIPs and Malaysian royalty in the early 90s.
Despite his success, Muluk confessed that he has also received negative comments on his cooking.
“At times, food can be too salty or too sweet especially when handled by staff. So, it is important to have a personal final tasting and accept any comments with a positive mind,” he said. “My customers are mostly satisfied and they usually ask me: ‘Chef, can I have the recipe?’”
Muluk, who loves to TLC, Food Network, Discovery Channel, especially ‘HOW DID THEY DO IT?’ also loves to read cookbooks to improve his cooking skills and knowledge.
“My favourite Sarawakian food includes Umai, Ikan Salai and Buah Engkalak,” he added. “In Sarawak, I can see that there is a high potential for Sago and Ikan Salai to be marketed in a wider market outside of Sarawak as it can also be introduced as snack food.”
To improve on his cooking skills, Muluk cooks regularly and never stops practicing. He advises aspiring chefs to always have pride in their cooking, be confident and creative.
Those who would like to get in touch with Chef Muluk can contact him through his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chef.muluk.