Despicable Me’s Minions Invade Pavilion KL

Hooray for school holidays! Kids all over Malaysia are celebrating, I’m sure. And for us, employees, this is also something to look forward to as there will be less traffic jam in the morning.
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur has once again delighted children (and children-at-heart like me) with their HOORAY HOORAY IT’S MINIONS COOL HOLIDAY. Despicable Me’s popular minions have invaded Pavilion’s concourse area with eye-popping display and colors.
The set-up is located at Pavilion’s famous concourse, host to numerous exciting and stylish events and launches. Despicable Me 2 minion adult-size and kid-size posters span across the place.
Fans can catch a sneak preview of the upcoming movie in this 2-TV display where Despicable Me 2 snippets are continuously played.
Guests of all ages can also enjoy different activities with all the booths across the concourse area. There are games where you can win toys and other goodies. Grab a lick or two of Italian ice cream from Gelatomio, take a joy ride on a kiddie ride or pick free Despicable Me balloons…
Take home plush toys as prizes from these booth games
Gelatomio serves delicious ice cream (yum!)
Kiddie joy ride
Grab FREE balloons from this booth
And you can buy Despicable Me 2 merchandise! Stuart, Dave, Gru, Gru’s fart blaster… 
The wonderful display was launched last 22nd May and will continue delighting Pavilion’s guests until 4th June.

Starhill Culinary Studio Launches its Creative Culinary Classes that Truly Inspire

I admit that I’m one of those working women who have been so focused (or should I say engrossed) with work to the point that they never had the time or interest to learn how to cook. At this age of over 30 years, I can only survive with a few simple dishes like scrambled egg, fried egg, instant noodles and rice using the rice cooker (!). I wasn’t so concerned before but now that I have a 3-year-old child, I know that I should soon learn how to cook beyond the basic fried or boiled meals. Even if I am quite lucky to have a mother-in-law who cooks like a chef…

Last 22nd May, Starhill Culinary Studio was launched in Starhill Gallery at Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. The program was held at the Basement Level – Feast where distinguished media representatives arrived. 

Jeremiah Tan, Director of Starhill Culinary Studio and Autodome Sdn. Bhd., gave a brief welcome speech. He explained that attending Starhill Culinary Studio’s classes will give epicureans an inspiring gourmet experience. Experts, both in-house and external, will lend  their expertise on how to enrich their daily lives. Creative juices will be flowing through fun and engaging classes conducted by Starhill Culinary Studio’s team of passionate individuals. 

After Jeremiah’s witty and enlightening speech, Starhill Culinary Studio’s team was called upon the stage. With a dramatic yet lively entrance starting from the escalator where everyone can see each of them arriving, the team came up to the stage in their black attires and posh hats/ scarfs. 

When I first saw the stage backdrop with the photo of a man wearing a head scarf, I was actually wondering who was he. I thought he was some celebrity brand ambassador as I am not really up-to-date with local celebrities. And to my surprise when he was introduced, the photogenic man on the backdrop is Chef Wai, Executive Chef of Starhill Culinary Studio. In the photo above, he’s in the middle with Jeremiah Tan, wearing his signature head scarf. Together with his entire team, Chef Wai “creates magic in each class where an insight into a whole world of different cuisines is delivered in one place.” 
Guests were then invited to take a look inside the goodie bags and wear the chef’s hat and apron. Each hat has a label to direct where in the studio will each guest be taken for a culinary experience. Maybe, technically, not all culinary as Starhill Culinary Studio also has this wonderful and fun place…the Wine Studio. Well, more of that later.
Here you’ll see the guests wearing the hats and chef’s apron.
And off we go to Starhill Culinary Studio at Muse Level!
Upon entering the Muse Level (doesn’t that make you feel pretty?), you’ll be welcomed by a warm and friendly lounge. I love how this reception area was designed to make you feel welcome and relaxed, like you’re actually entering a home. 
And on top of the lifts, you’ll see this classy and ‘inspiring’ line:
Starhill Culinary Studio conducts classes for different cuisines or simply for different culinary interests. On the right side is the Pastry and Baking Studio while on the left side are Wai’s Dining Room, Wai’s Kitchen and the Wine Studio. 
Guests for Chef Wai’s kitchen were the first to arrive. The kitchen is very enticing (yes, I know, even if I am ignorant in the kitchen). This really looks like a fun environment to learn about cooking. “Wai’s Kitchen is created to showcase different cooking methods with live demonstrations and interactive classes, teaching how to create amazing dishes from recipes that are usually kept close to a master chef’s chest.”  
Outside the actual cooking kitchen is the classroom with LCD TVs placed strategically so everyone can see and follow preparations done on the table. The place is admittedly very nice and comfortable for those who are interested to learn more about cooking. 
And so the guests got a first-hand experience on how Chef Wai conducts his classes. Here he’s demonstrating a dish preparation. Chef Wai is very easy to spot with his head scarf…
Chef Wai heads YTL’s restaurants at Starhill Gallery in KL and is the pioneer of Pangkor Laut Resort’s signature restaurant, Fisherman’s Cove. His culinary skills have delighted some of the world’s most recognized names including Elle Macpherson, Keira Knightley, Ralph Schumacher, George Benson and many more.  
Starhill Culinary Studio also have a special place for those who just want to enjoy sumptuous dishes created by the Executive Chef, none other than Chef Wai. At Wai’s Dining Room, guests can experience bespoke themed private dinners and dine in sophistication and grandeur. 
For those who want to make creations to satisfy savory cravings, the Pastry Studio and Baking Studio provide the perfect place. Entering the area immediately gives a whiff of something good and mouth-watering…
Beside the Pastry Studio’s cake display is a glass wall with a colorful display of round things. Guess what these are…I was amazed upon looking closely…
Delicious-looking dummy macaroons mounted on the glass wall! Very clever…
And here are more delicious stuff…(drool drool)
Of course, I saved the best for last. Off to the Wine Studio!
The wine session was conducted by one of Starhill Culinary Studio’s guest sommelier, David Stephan. Born and raised in France, David has more than 20 years of wine experience and remains passionate with the wine industry. He enjoys sharing his knowledge through tasting sessions where he personally demonstrates skills, techniques and tips about wine. David Stephan is the Chief Sommelier of Wine Talk which offers an easy access to great wines through online ordering with direct delivery service to your home.
Starhill Culinary Studio’s Wine Studio is very conducive and well-equipped for wine classes. It’s classy, elegant and displayed with wine inspirations. 
Mini sinks that serve as spittoon (a receptacle for spitting used by wine tasters to spit samples of wine in order to avoid alcohol intoxication during tasting) are installed in between 2 guests or students. 
Wine bottles are neatly displayed on glass shelves at the back wall. 
David Stephan conducted the wine tasting session where guests sampled different wines: Arthur Metz Pinot Gris from France, Monte da Peceguina red wine and Monte da Peceguina rosé wine, both from Portugal. For the Wine Studio’s upcoming sessions, David Stephan will be conducting classes as guest sommelier on 21st June, 25th July and 23rd August. 
Here’s David Stephan with some gorgeous ladies and gentleman of Starhill team. 
And here with more gorgeous ladies of Starhill…
Paula Conway (above photo – right), Operations and Marketing Manager of Starhill Culinary Studio, explained YTL’s vision behind Starhill Culinary studio: “Bintang Walk started out as a YTL vision and through the company’s continuous involvement, it has developed and grown over the years to become a synonymous street name around the world. A name that will now not only be recognized for its wealth of shopping outlets and fine restaurants but also for delivering rich experiences with Starhill Culinary Studio.”
Starhill Culinary Studio’s media event was truly a memorable experience. I never expected that cooking, baking and wine classes could have such creative and inviting environment, not to mention stylish and classy. For those who want to experience ‘Creative Culinary Classes that Inspire’, Starhill Culinary Studio is the perfect place to explore and learn your gourmet aspirations and dreams. 
Thanks to Starhill Culinary Studio’s creative and inspiring team for this wonderful event. May you all continue to create magic for more epicureans!
If you’re interested to know more about Starhill Culinary Studio’s classes, visit
For more wine info, visit
Here’s my naughty son enjoying the chef’s hat which I brough back home together with other goodies:

St. Patrick’s Society Charity Night 2013

Last week, I attended an event that gave me an up-close experience of how many good people are out there. It was a totally enlightening night, a gleam of light amidst this world full of tragedy and heart-breaking news. 

St. Patrick’s Society of Selangor is a non-profit organization, promoting the social life and community of Irish people and people with Irish connections in Malaysia. They have social and cultural events while strongly involved in organizing charity events to raise funds for orphanages and other groups.  

St. Patrick organized a charity night last 11th of May held at the Irish ambassador’s residence in Jalan Ampang Hilir. Interesting items for the silent auction were displayed by the foyer, together with auction sheets where guests can easily write their names and bid price. Some of the items for silent auction were these amazing paintings:

All of the items for sale at the event were donated by members, local businesses and other groups who share the same vision with St. Patrick’s Society. So this means all the proceeds will go to the charity funds and will be awarded to the beneficiary group of this event. It’s really amazing. And look at these paintings! Kudos to the artist of these really unique images. These surely took a considerable amount of time to create and the style is simply beautiful. 

Before the program started, guests arrived and registered with the reception team. For the benefit of this charity event, all guests have to buy their tickets for drinks which include soft drinks, beer, wine and other liquor. Food was ready to be served, which, as I learned, was also fully sponsored by one of the society’s members. And mind you, the food looked really great, served by a caterer. I managed to try some of the dishes later that night and they really had good stuff. 

Each table was prepared with wine glasses, a free bottle of wine and event information sheets. 

On another table was an artist who worked on a seriously impressive piece of artwork. The artist, Melanie Bayoud, started from a blank sheet of paper and her finished artwork of a Celtic harp drawing was auctioned on the night itself as well. 

Soft drinks, beer, wine and other liquors were also sponsored. Tables serving the drinks were waiting next to the food banquet. One of the sponsors was Wine Talk who provided wines through wine tickets purchased at the reception and another box of wine for live auction. Here was Wine Talk’s sommelier, David Stephan, with St. Patrick’s Society members, Tony and Cherry Beadsworth:

The program started with introduction from the organizers and a brief discussion about the beneficiary of the charity event, the Chin Student Organization (CSO). 

Education is important to everyone. Unfortunately, not all are fortunate enough to be given  the right to education. The CSO is a voluntary organization created to meet the needs of Chin refugee children. It was formed in March 2005 by a small group of Chin university students who came to Malaysia in search of a secured and safer life away from the turmoil of Myanmar. They aim to provide education to the Chin refugee children who are not eligible for formal education in Malaysia.

All the teachers are working as volunteers to teach these children. But aside from education, the organization also needs to provide meals, school items and other basics, especially uniform. Some people might think that uniform is a small thing and shouldn’t be a priority but for refugees, having a uniform is important as this gives an instant recognition that they belong to a school or a group. This will protect them from being taken away, mistakenly captured or other worse possibilities. In a world where children are helpless, safety measures save lives. 

Food is definitely a priority as well. Children need to have their basic meals provided, including milk. My son is highly dependent on milk for nutrition and I know how important milk is to growing children. It’s a challenge at the moment for CSO as they don’t have sufficient funds to provide milk daily. 

Some of the children from CSO were at the event and gave a short presentation. Each student shared a short experience and what they hope for in the future. This was a highlight of the event and gave everyone a heart-warming moment, hearing each child’s thought and hope in their lives. 

The evening continued with dinner for everyone and the live auction where the society members gave more donations to the charity. 

I was really surprised that a charity event could be so lively and fun. Everybody seemed to be having a good time. But on top of it all, I am amazed at how generous these people are. The members of St. Patrick’s Society are such a blessing to these refugee children. Couldn’t there be more of them in this world? The event raised more than RM150K plus 100 uniforms and a new sewing machine for crafts! This will make a valuable difference to these children and their lives.
As a mother who works her way through life to provide a good future for her child, I cannot imagine my son not having a chance to good education or even milk everyday. To Chin Student Organization, to St. Patrick’s Society of Selangor, to the Irish Embassy and to all who supported this event, may you all succeed in making this world a better place to live in for more children. You make miracles for each child and for their loved ones. 

To know more about CSO, check out their site:

To know more about St. Patrick’s Society, check out their site:

Screw Cap or Cork?

(image from net)
Being a wine newbie (okay, I’m not so much of an idiot anymore after 4 months in a wine-related job, huh), I’ve been wondering what’s the deal with the wine bottle cap. I believe that, generally, a lot of people believe that a cork means that the wine is of better or higher quality, hence, would taste better. But this seemed to be a misconception, as I have learned from our wine sommelier. 
A bit of info on corks first. Wine corks can be a single piece of cork or composed of many small particles. A cork made of particles are referred to as ‘technical cork’. 
Single Piece of Cork
(image from net)
Technical Cork
(image from net)
On a technical cork, you can see that the top and bottom has lines, showing the cork discs placed on each end. 
Majority of corks across the globe come from Portugal; some come from Spain and Italy. Cork has a lot of uses aside from wine stoppers:  floor and wall tiles, shuttlecocks, fishing rod handles and musical instruments. 
Both have their one benefits, pros and cons. Cork has been the wine stopper used by winemakers for hundreds of years. It comes from a renewable source because cork can be harvested from the bark of the cork tree without harming or killing it. Amazing. Winemakers use cork as wine closure for a lot of reasons, among which include the following:
  • Cork is light and low in density.
  • Cork is compressible and flexible. It can be compressed to half its width without expanding its length and still maintain its flexibility. 
  • Cork is resistant to moisture penetration. Despite its lightness and flexibility, it doesn’t allow water or moisture to get in (or out). 
  • Cork retains its properties despite extreme temperatures and lasts for years without deterioration.
  • Cork is biodegradable. 

But cork is not perfect. Corked wine, as you may have guessed, is caused by the cork. No, corked wine doesn’t mean that there are small particles of cork on the wine. Corked wine refers to a wine that has been contaminated with cork taint. Cork taint is caused by the presence of a chemical compound called TCA or 2,4,6-trichloroanisole. This TCA is formed when naturally-occurring airborne fungi combine with chlorinated phenolic compounds, substances which can also be found in pesticides, bleaches and preservatives. This cork taint affects the smell and taste of wine. Although it is not harmful or poisonous (don’t worry, you won’t get sick from corked wines), nobody would really want to drink wine that is corked.
Screw cap is a metal cap that screws the neck of a wine bottle with a metal skirt in a length meant to resemble the wine foil. In Australia and New Zealand, screw caps are now used more widely than corks. Winemakers use screw caps for these reasons (and more):
  • Screw caps prevent cork taint since there is no cork which might be contaminated with TCA
  • Screw cap is modern while cork is viewed as traditional
  • Screw caps are more consumer-friendly, can easily be opened with bare hands, without the need for bottle openers
  • Screw caps are easier to put back when you need to cover the bottle again while some corks can be difficult to put back in

So what’s the deal then on wines with screw caps and corks? 
It’s more of consumer perception and preference, I would say. Until now, a lot of people still perceive wines with screw caps to be cheaper or of less quality than wines with cork. Some are also looking for that cork ‘popping’ sound which goes with the celebration mood of opening a bottle of wine. While screw caps are undermined for the quality, it doesn’t really compromise the taste and aging ability of the wines as opposed to corks, as a lot of winemakers who have embraced screw caps would say. Australia and New Zealand produce great wines and their market are huge makers of screw-capped wines. 
In terms of convenience, I personally vote for screw cap. Based on experience, corks can sometimes be annoying, especially when you’re not really good at removing them. There’s a chance for you to break the cork while using the bottle opener then it all breaks and drops to the wine. And, of course, you need a bottle opener with cork. Screw caps are convenient. I can bring it to a party without having to bring an opener or asking if the party host has one. 
I’m not saying I’m opposed to corks at all. There are instances when corks change the entire presentation and mood with wines. Champagnes or sparkling wines, for me, are still best served by corked bottles. That ‘pop’ is just a classy factor with bubblies! But, again, the ‘pop’ does not ensure great  quality. 
As a consumer, I would suggest fellow wine drinkers to choose wines based on what you read on the label and good advice from a sommelier instead of looking at the cap. Taking note of food that you will dine your wine with is also important. If you’re not sure of what wines to serve, I strongly suggest getting advice from the experts. Find a good sommelier you can talk to. Or better yet, start exploring more wines for yourself and identify which ones (and which aren’t) are great.

Don’t judge the wine bottle by its cap. Cheers!