A la Chef Farah Quinn
Published 06 January 2011
A new era has begun! No more Betty Crocker types doing TV cooking shows but instead let us welcome Farah Quinn, a fabulous model-esque beauty who cooks with a twist.
By Erza S.T.
In Indonesia, TV cooking shows are always dominated by Betty Crocker and Nigela Lawson types. This all changed when Farah Quinn got in front of the cameras last year. What are the changes? Well… for those who aren’t aware yet who Farah Quinn is, then just look at her pictures in this article and you will get the idea. Farah is one sexy lady but let there be no doubt about it, she can really cook. Farah still follows the age-old tradition of discovering new menus everyday to keep the family happy, however, she modifies the existing menus and makes them into her own style. See, her wisdom here is to create her own style of cooking and make it special with a very simple approach.
A graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Finance, she has had her love of cooking since she was very small. “I started to love cooking when I was a little girl. My grandmother and my mother are both fantastic cooks. I remember being so happy playing “masak-masakan” (pretend cooking) in the kitchen when I was growing up. My mother never stopped me playing with sugar, flour, eggs and other ingredients that I could find in her kitchen. As I was growing up, I used to bake and cook for myself and my family. When I was in high school, I moved to the US to continue my education there and I kept cooking for myself and my friends. I continued on to get my college degree in finance, but my heart wasn’t there. So I decided to follow my passion, which was cooking. I went to the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and got my degree in pastry arts. And I’ve been in the industry ever since.”
To pursue her passion, Farah started working at a couple of restaurants in Pittsburgh in between her school time. She then moved to Phoenix, Arizona and worked at Biltmore Resort and Spa for six years, before deciding to open her own restaurant “Camus” with her husband, the famous mixologist Carson Quinn. Two years after the opening, they sold the restaurant because its value had increased and “the offer was just simply too irresistible to refuse.” says Farah.
Baby Armand came next into her life and she and Carson decided to come back to Indonesia for a break. “I was supposedly here only for a few weeks vacation, but I was offered a contract with TransTV to do a cooking show, so I grabbed it and decided to stay here. The TV station back then had an idea to do a cooking show and was looking for someone different. A family friend of mine, Helmy Yahya, suggested that they contact me. I got the email just when I was planning on visiting Indonesia for my routine “home sweet home” vacation. I think it was all about the right timing. All of the cooking shows here are hosted by male chefs so when I came along, it was something different. It was a bit of a shock for me, too, how well the show was received. It has been a fantastic experience for me.”
I don’t think there has ever been a cooking show on Indonesian TV that has received such rave reviews like hers. Surely her manner and beauty have played a big role in this matter; nevertheless, she is still a chef who knows her stuff. In regard to her style of cooking, she believes that it should be fun and doesn’t have to be complicated. “By keeping it simple and using fresh ingredients, we can make the most amazing meals,” she says.
“Every chef has their own outlook in cooking. I like to be inspired by local cuisines and ingredients wherever I am traveling. Then I add my own twist to make it my own.” Her early TV career in Indonesia almost stumbled with language issues. “True, when I first returned, I had been away for almost 13 years. And of course I had learned how to cook, etc, in the States. So when I had to speak in front of a camera while I was cooking, it was much easier to do it in English, especially all of the cooking terms. But I have been back for a year and half now. I have learned all the recent slang and my Bahasa has become much more relaxed in front of the camera. So it’s not a problem anymore. But I still mix it up sometimes, I think it has become my trademark.”
This trademark makes her show more original and unique. During the photo session, I asked her how she juggles the schedule between Armand, Carson, her TV show and social events while still looking fabulous. “My schedule is very full. But I have to balance everything. I love doing what I do, it keeps me very busy but my family is also very important. I usually drag Armand along with me to wherever I can. He knows that his mummy works in front of a camera. When I am away, I call my family everyday and tell them how much I love them. I can say I am still pretty new in town, so attend the social events to make new friends. I think it’s also important for me to have a social life. Thank you for saying that I look fabulous. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline. I have a fully-equipped gym at my house that I use all the time. I make time to get my work out done, even though my day is always busy. I love food, I love to cook, I love to eat and I also love to work out.”
With all her activities, Farah has no plans to open her own restaurant in Jakarta like she did before with Camus. For her, opening her own business is pretty much like having a new baby. “You can’t just give birth then have other people take care of it. When the time is right, I will definitely open my own place.”
Knowing Farah for almost a year now, I believe that she and Carson will eventually open their own restaurant in Jakarta. Why not? All the elements are there. A gorgeous chef and a handsome mixologist who will create all the cocktails… that is pretty much, as they say, a match made in heaven.
People say that Farah Quinn is a sexy chef and her comment: “I am very flattered”.
Styling: Erza ST.
Make-up: Teddy Luntungan, Cutting Room.
Jl. Pakubuwono VI No24, Jakarta