Cooking demonstration with Chef Renu, and a few special guests

Cooking demo with Chef Renu_2

During my stay at Angsana, Bintan, I had the opportunity to participate in a cooking demonstration with Chef Renu Homsombat, Banyan Tree’s Corporate Chef at Saffron. The dishes that I was learning were from the four course dégustation meal that I had at Saffron. I was very excited to uncover the secrets behind Chef Renu’s delicious food.

Joining us at the cooking demo were some of the local youths from Banyan Tree’s Seedlings programme. Started in 2007, Seedlings is an initiative that aims to support communities by building the capacities of the youths by equipping them with life skills. These special guests were selected as they had shown an interest in pursuing a culinary career.

Green mango salad

While watching Chef Renu worked her magic, it was a delight observing her interaction with the local youths. Though it was her first time in Bintan, Chef Renu managed a few local phrases and joked with them. She told them the importance of cooking with a smile–if we cook with a sad face, the food would turn out terrible. She went on “forcing” those who helped in the demo to smile. Everyone just burst out laughing.

Cooking demo with Chef Renu_1

After the cooking demo, I had a quick chat with Chef Renu and asked her what makes her love cooking. She told me that she loves seeing people eating and enjoying her food. Cooking also allowed her to be creative and pushes herself to constantly re-invent dishes. When Chef Renu first started in Banyan Tree, she was in charge of the staff meal which at that time was not that great. She revamped the staff meal and it became so delicious that some of the dishes made it to Saffron’s menu. Through my interaction with Chef Renu, I find her to be very clever and diligent yet humble. She is also very friendly and jovial. If I could, I would pack her in my suitcase and bring her back to Singapore.


About Mandy Ng

Mandy’s journey into the culinary world began out of necessity–a means of survival whilst she was at university. She believes cooking should be simple and fun. Besides spending time in the kitchen whipping up hearty meals, Mandy also dreams of having a bottomless stomach that she can fill with all kinds of delicious things.