Fine French food by KDU alumni chef
French cuisine is often associated with the notion of being lavish, for special events or celebrations. These sophisticated work of culinary art requires a certain set of skills to serve.
Cooking up a storm in his French bistro is Chef Christopher Yee, a graduate of KDU University College’s renowned School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts.
Based in the bustling neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), the young chef established his bistro named ‘Topshelf’, serving some of the finest French cuisine in the area. Some of Chef Christopher’s signature classic French dishes includes escargots, foie gras, oysters, mussels in white wine, coq au vin, beef bourguignon, and of course, the all-time favourite crème brulee at the top of his dessert list.
Topshelf meets the requirements of a classic French bistro, the ambience is perfected by the incandescent lighting and the occasional clinking glasses as patrons drink toasts to their meals. Since the bistro is his pride and dream, Chef Christopher is very hands-on in everything; from daily operations to ensuring that the ingredients used at the bistro is of topmost quality.
“It has always been my dream to someday own and operate my own restaurant,” said Chef Christopher. “It all started back when I was young and I spent a lot of time helping my mother in the kitchen. Just like many other stories of passion, mine stemmed from those times I spent alongside my mother, from observing to eventually helping her prepare and cook the dishes myself.”
When inquired on his decision to join KDU, Chef Christopher noted that his decision to join KDU was based on a recommendation from his friend.
“I’ve heard a lot about KDU from friends who were looking into joining culinary school as well. After visiting the campus, which was at the time in Damansara Jaya, I was sold into joining KDU. I was impressed with the facilities and the syllabus and I had trust in the strong academic staff who each boasted years of experience and very close industry linkage.”
As someone who is still relatively new to the industry, Chef Christopher noted that the decision to operate his own restaurant did not come easy. From researching the locale and target audience to looking at the numbers, he had taken his time in carefully making his business feasible. For this, he had sought advice and guidance from his lecturers, who remained open for guidance even after his graduation.
“To be frank, I think some huge part of why my experience in KDU was so fulfilling is because of the lecturers,” he stated. “They were genuinely passionate about teaching and guiding young minds. I turned to my lecturers for help and advice when I was starting up and they were more than willing to share, be it their knowledge or connections. Personally, I think that’s a very special bond to have, for students to be able to lean back and still learn from their lecturers even after they’ve completed their studies.”
Chef Christopher himself did outstandingly well during his time as a student and had his fair share of the limelight. In 2008, he took part in the Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) Culinary Challenge, which is Asia’s largest international food and hospitality event. It is also the world’s second largest culinary competition. The culinary challenge symbolizes the pinnacle of excellence as hundreds of practitioners in the food and beverage industry worldwide gather to prove their mettle. It is a celebration of culinary talents all over the world.
Chef Christopher bagged a bronze medal with his partner, Leng Yik Siang as the two competed in the Two to Tango category. On top of that, he had also bagged a Gold medal in 2007’s Food & Hotel Malaysia Culinary Challenge.
When it comes to his future plans, Chef Christopher intends to someday open his own bed and breakfast, supplied by produce off his very own local farm.
“I would like to make sure everything I put into my dishes comes from the freshest ingredients and I do believe in using local produce. Thus, I see the plan of owning my own farm and eventually operating a bed and breakfast as something that people would react warmly to,” said the chef.
To find out how you can hit the ground running with KDU University College, log on to www.kdu.edu.my or call 03-5565 0538 (KDU University College, Utropolis, Glenmarie) / 03-7953 6688 (KDU College, Damansara Jaya).