Ask A Chef: What Do You Like To Cook For Your Kids?
Earning his cooking stars and stripes in America and Japan, Jeff Ramsey is a fun-loving chef that hails from both backgrounds. On top of being a father of three, he runs Babe, a restaurant that embraces the child-like joy of discovering good food by combining progressive modernist techniques with Japanese and Spanish culinary influences, all done in playfully artistic fashion.
Operating out of Kuala Lumpur for the past four years, Babe is one of the best spots in town for date night, offering a unique modern dining experience with a killer view.
To tell us more about the man behind the chef's whites, Ramsey took us to one of his favourite restaurants in town, Yung Kee, a popular eatery specialising in Hong Kong style beef brisket noodles, to talk food and what's recently been on his plate.
In a pleasantly surprising twist, the American-Japanese chef had brought along some visiting food friends (respected chefs and sommeliers in their own right) from Tokyo for his meet with T.Dining, proving that the more, the merrier, especially when it comes to good eats.
2/8Why Do You Like Coming To This Restaurant?
"A friend hooked me on to this place and it's just really good. It's a very macho kind of food if you like beef. The meat is of high quality and the soup is perfectly balanced, you get full and it doesn't break the bank. Well, it can if you start ordering the A4 wagyu beef. I'm more low key when I come to places like this, I don't expect to eat that kinda stuff," says Ramsey.
3/8Tell us some of the foods that you love to munch on.
"I'm really into corn nuts right now but I'm a big potato chip guy. I would say that's my vice. No drugs, no alcohol, potato chips are my secret obsession. But I'm watching what I eat these days so corn nuts are a really good replacement," Ramsey confesses.
"Potato chips are so good because you basically have two or three things that when humans eat they just can't stop. Salt, sugar, oil and ajinomoto (MSG); potato chips have all of that. When you have these four things it's one-two-pop, you can't stop. They're just addictive and I love them".
Fun fact: Ramsey's favourite potato chip flavours are plain, sour cream and onion, as well as salt and vinegar, in that order. He also has a soft spot for an American confection called Almond Roca.
4/8If You Could Have Any Meal Come To You, Breakfast, Lunch Or Dinner, What Would You Have?
"You know, I do miss going to a Japanese style ryokan (inn), where you jump into a hot bath at night after a long day of skiing or whatever, have a good night's sleep and then wake up to a Japanese breakfast. It's not something that I eat most of the time, my normal is more of a continental breakfast kind of meal, so it's really nice to have that. Cooked by somebody of course," he says with a chuckle.
5/8How Do You Lead Your Team To New Heights?
"I'm a firm believer in that life will provide you with all the pieces you need to survive. Most of the time they are all around you. Treat the people around you like you just moved into a house that has a garden but it's winter, you're not sure which plant is going to grow to be the most beautiful so you have to take care of all the plants equally and then you'll find out come Spring time," says Ramsey.
6/8What Do You Like To Cook For Your Kids?
"I'm a chef in a restaurant and there's a lot of cooking involved in that, so I'm pretty cooked out by the time I get home. I'm a breakfast cook at home; eggs, sausage, toast...that sort of thing. My wife is actually an accomplished healthy cook herself so the kids are very lucky. I'm not so much of a healthy food kind of guy, it's all about taste for me," he says flashing a smile.
7/8What Is Babe's Food All About?
"Food is entertainment but it doesn't have to be whizz-bang-pop, or have smoke coming out of your mouth, or have the dish changing colour. It has to be special, thought out, perfectly designed, delicious and it has to look good, especially for the modern market," says Ramsey.
"I try to create food that you can't do at home, either because it's too tedious, the ingredients are too special, or even because creating it requires skills you need to learn, so that people can talk about it when they're eating it. Babe is trying to be the replacement for the other kinds of entertainment of the evening. Babe IS the main part of the night," he adds.
8/8What's The Next Big Thing For You?
"Right now I'm working on my next restaurant in KL. The concept is a neighbourhood sushi spot and right now I'm considering Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Tropicana and the Kenny Hills area, kind of the places where you can't find a good sushi restaurant," he reveals.
"The style of the sushi served would be from Kyushu because I love it there. It's definitely a top spot for food in Japan. The idea would be to celebrate Kyushu through their sake, fish, meat and vegetables. It's going to be a lot of fun and it's going to be really tasty".
Curious what Babe has to offer? Visit their website to see what's on the menu.
Catch up with these other chefs that we've featured: James Won of Enfin | Darren Chin of DC Restaurant | Carrie Scully of Tiki Taka