Chef with Michelin-starred eatery serving M'sian food has never been to M'sia, Latest Makan News - The New Paper

Chef with Michelin-starred eatery serving M'sian food has never been to M'sia

Chef Salil Mehta, who was born in New Delhi, graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2008.

He moved to New York in hopes of cutting his teeth in one of the world's fashion capitals.

But he could not make enough to make ends meet, so he started working in the food industry.

Who would think that years on, not only has he learnt to cook, but one of his restaurants has been awarded the Michelin star.

No, that star did not go to a restaurant serving up food steeped in Chef Salil's culinary roots, but the coveted recognition was awarded to Laut (Malay for sea) – making it the first restaurant outside Malaysia serving Malaysian food to have earned the Michelin accolade. 

The popular main dish at Laut is Dragon Breath Char Kway Teow. Laut's menu spans quintessential Malaysian dishes such as roti canai and nasi lemak.

How did the Indian chef manage to elevate Malaysian food to Michelin-worthy standards – especially since he has never been to Malaysia?

Chef Salil apparently did plenty of research, like how he researched Thai cooking by speaking to women who cooked for monks at a Buddhist temple in Illinois, as he revealed to host Meg Oliver in a CBS News interview.

Besides Laut, Chef Salil runs another Malaysian restaurant, Wau (Malaysian kite), and Singlish, a bar inspired by cocktails from Singapore.