Farah Quinn: Indonesia’s Sexy Chef
Not all beauty comes with great food. But this beauty sure knows how to cook a great food. Farah Quinn (whose original name was Farah Farhanah) became a sensation in Indonesia with her cooking show “Ala Chef”. Many people in Indonesia refer her as “The Sexy Chef” and she has become an ambassador for many cooking products, making her one of the most famous TV personalities in Indonesia.
How did Farah Quinn become a chef?
Farah Quinn spent her earlier life in Indonesia before she moved to Pittsburgh in the United States to finish her high school. She even pursued a financial degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Until then, cooking was just a hobby for her and something she felt passionate about. She also used to cook for her housemate until one day her friend introduced her to a pastry chef.
Back then, she did not know there was such a job as pastry chef and it intrigued her, mainly just the idea of getting paid for something that she liked to do. During that time, cooking was not considered a popular nor promising career in Indonesia, and some families have housemaids to cook for them.
In the same year, 1998, Indonesia experienced a financial crisis and her parents were no longer able to support her degree. She was then offered a ticket back to Indonesia, or would have to support herself in the US. She saw it as an opportunity to pursue her passion in cooking.
She took culinary class with a focus on pastry while working at Lidia’s Pittsburgh, a famous Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh. After she graduated, she worked in a pastry kitchen at Arizona Biltmore Resort while pursuing classes at World Pastry Championship where she could learn from world master chef such Ewald Notter and Colette Peters. For those who live outside the culinary realm, Ewald Notter is an US modern confectionery artist, author, and has won at least 15 gold medals in competition over 15 countries, as well as National and World Pastry Team Champion, and Pastry Chef of the Year. As for Colette Peters, she was voted one of the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in the USA in 2007, and was given the Trendsetter of the Year award by Modern Bride magazine.
One of Farah’s prominent experiences was in 2004 where she was invited in G8 summit and got the chance to create specialty desert for the Laura Bush and other delegates under the guide of Celebrity Chef James Mullaney. In that same year, Farah and her husband Carson Quinn opened their restaurant named Camus which was awarded 4 stars for its cuisine.
The career in Indonesia
In 2008 Farah decided to pursue her career in Indonesia, following the closing of her restaurant over the increased value over the year. In an occasion, Farah showed her portfolio to a known Indonesian presenter Helmi Yahya which offered her as place on the cooking jury at Pantene pageant. After that, she was taken on by a prominent TV channel in Indonesia, Trans TV who happened to be looking for a host for its cooking show. The show was named “Ala Chef” and became very popular. That’s when Farah started to become known as “The sexy chef”.
I don’t remember how we started it. But we came up with the concept of yummy and sexy food. I think it’s the people who start saying, ‘Oh she’s a sexy chef.’ But I never call myself sexy.”
She also appears on the Asian Food channel, advertisements, magazines and television talk shows. As her career rocketed, she was contracted as ambassador for numerous cooking product such as Tupperware, Carnation Milk, Nutrishake, King Tomato & Allila Resort. The Government of New Zealand also appointed Quinn as the Luxury New Zealand website travel ambassador in 2012.
Style, Personality and Social Media
Farah, who is now a single mother (she divorced in 2014), is also active on her social media on Instagram and Facebook, with millions of followers. She often post a simple breakfast menu for her son Armand, her travelling photos, social events she attended, and various food around the world where she travels. Her food posts are often accompanied with short description of the recipes. Her posts inspire others to enjoy cooking, travelling, and simply enjoy togetherness with friends and family.
Although she was dubbed the “Sexy Chef”, Farah’s success was not just down to her sexy appearance. Besides her warm personality, polite and friendly manner, she’s able to make a simple yet delicious recipes that make the public inspired to try them. Although, some may criticize her for mixing Indonesian’s Bahasa and English when she speaks, she soon dismisses this, saying:
When I speak Bahasa Indonesia, I use Bahasa Indonesia. But when I speak English, I do speak American English. I don’t speak Bahasa Indonesia with an American accent.
Beside her recipes for your kitchen, she also has a recipe for life. As quoted from one of interview with her, she said:
Just follow your passion. Being in the kitchen is not as glamorous as what you think. I started from the very bottom as an intern in a resort and it’s really hard work. If that’s what you really want, stay focused and work hard and it will take you somewhere. But of course it needs to be your passion.