It’s no information that Malaysia’s tourism sector was hit laborious final 12 months, and is barely now starting to recuperate. Zhexi and Yongzhi had been two such staff who additionally felt its influence, shedding their jobs as resort cooks through the pandemic.
However this setback didn’t preserve them down for lengthy. With RM10K, they arrange a small omakase expertise in a 300 sq. ft area on February 20, 2021. They referred to as it Eat and Prepare dinner.
On the time, it might solely cater to 12 prospects in a day, 6 for lunch, and 6 for dinner. As neither Zhexi nor Yongzhi knew do advertising for his or her model, they sought recommendation from their finest buddies Steve and Harry, who right now function their present director and associate, respectively.
Collectively, the 4 of them had been capable of drive up consciousness and site visitors to the shop, and seeing the traction that they had gained to this point, they determined it was time to develop.
Now positioned in Bukit Jalil Metropolis, they’re capable of serve as much as 30 pax an evening.
An omakase of Malaysian recollections
“The title of our restaurant sums up what we’re about. You enter with an urge for food to eat and our cooks will resolve what to prepare dinner for you—proper in entrance of you,” Steve and Zhexi repeated their philosophy to Vulcan Publish in an interview.
Whereas Malaysia doesn’t lack omakase choices, there’s a slight distinction in Eat and Prepare dinner’s omakase branding.
If you suppose “omakase”, you’d often take into consideration Japanese delicacies, and rightfully so, as that’s the place the idea originated from.
Nevertheless, for Zhexi, Yongzhi, and Steve, all of whom graduated from the identical culinary arts college, what they needed to take from omakase was primarily the thriller of the menu.
Then they centered on utilizing locally-sourced elements for his or her dishes.
“We discovered that our homeland elements are uncared for by our individuals and truly we do have very nice produce like our herbs, seafood, and likewise spices from our native farmers that are from Cameron Highlands, Pantai Remis, Sabah, and so on.,” Steve and Zhexi stated.
“After we serve prospects, we additionally will share [with them] how we prepare dinner, what native elements we’re utilizing to create the dish, and likewise what’s the flavour [of it] that we develop up [with] as a Malaysian.”
The duo gave an instance of a well-recognized dish that they had reworked. Assam laksa is often served with thick noodles and a wealthy mackerel broth, however at Eat and Prepare dinner, the noodles are changed by tuna strips and the broth is modified to a lightweight foam.
“Individuals might not know [what it is when] it, however after they style it they are going to instantly [recognise] the flavour of the dish,” Steve and Zhexi stated.
In a way, you possibly can say that their omakase theme is constructed on reigniting recollections Malaysians have with their favorite meals by means of reimagined and reworked dishes.
Pivoting within the midst of a lockdown
Simply over a month after opening, Eat and Prepare dinner really needed to shut its doorways when the federal government introduced the COVID-19 lockdown.
“It actually harm badly as a result of each month we do not need sufficient gross sales to cowl the bills of the restaurant, as a result of we didn’t [lay off] any of our staff,” the duo shared.
“However thank god, as soon as we opened the restaurant, most of our prospects supported us so we’re capable of get again on monitor.”
Although they weren’t capable of serve prospects omakase through the lockdown, the Eat and Prepare dinner workforce didn’t mope round.
They set to work altering their meals from advantageous eating to a wide range of different kinds corresponding to barbeque, a Don (rice bowl dish) menu, and a House Chef Sequence meal package for followers to prepare dinner up their very own 3-course set for two pax at dwelling.
Since reopening, Eat and Prepare dinner has returned absolutely to omakase advantageous eating. In accordance with the workforce, enterprise is booming—they’re at all times absolutely booked, and most visitors must e-book a slot 1.5 months upfront.
Eat and Prepare dinner adjustments its menu each 3-4 months primarily based on the season, and for the present one, it’s serving an 11-course menu that prices RM398++.
On their web site, you may often discover a menu that outlines the elements you’ll be having fun with, however you’ll don’t know what artistic varieties these dishes will take within the spirit of omakase.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Amidst sturdy fan help, Eat and Prepare dinner hasn’t forgotten the individuals who matter most: its personal workforce. It prides itself on fostering a great workforce tradition, and even highlights workforce members on its social media to present followers a private understanding of the individuals behind their meals.
“We wish to develop our F&B group so the entire workers have the chance to steer, to expertise, discover their creativity, and likewise turn into one of many shareholders,” Steve and Zhexi expressed.
“We do consider a great fee system can also be essential in an organisation as a result of it motivates the staff and makes them extra productive, and they’ll really feel the corporate is a part of them as effectively.”
With the precise workforce, they’re aiming to turn into among the finest eating places in KL and to get recognised by Asia’s 50 Finest Eating places to extend model visibility.
Already pondering forward, Steve and Zhexi consider that this is able to allow them to recruit elite skills in addition to begin new manufacturers.
Every model would carry completely different ideas, however the workforce will proceed to focus on medium to high-range prospects.
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