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Adam Liaw is a lawyer-turned-chef currently based in Australia. Born to a Malaysian-Chinese father and an English-Singaporean mother, Adam cites his mixed heritage as one of the reasons he’s into fusion food. On top of that, Adam has also worked and lived in several countries, including a seven-year stint in Tokyo, Japan, where his interest in fusion cuisine continued to grow.

In 2010, Adam took part in the second season of MasterChef Australia where he emerged not only as the winner, but also a crowd favourite. Obviously, only better things were to follow – he landed his own food and travel program, Destination Flavor on Australia’s SBS network, and later also authored two cookbooks. Currently, he has a regular column on The Wall Street Journal’s Scene Asia, and is the present UNICEF Australia’s National Ambassador for Nutrition. 

His latest project: collaborating with Mission Foods, one of the world’s biggest flatbread producers, to create a whole new menu of wraps. As part of his work duties, he flew into Singapore recently to promote his new creations. Naturally, we had to seize the chance to chat with him.

Q: In collaboration with Mission Foods, you created a whole new menu of wraps. Which one is your favourite?

Adam: We’ve done more than 30 different ones, but the laksa fried chicken one is one of my favourites. We presented the beef bulgogi with kimchi and the carrot hummus ones today – it’s all just a lot of familiar flavours to anyone who grew up around this part of the world and they all work really well with the wrap.

Q: What’s your favourite must-have local food when you’re in Singapore?

Adam: Hainanese chicken rice is probably my favourite. My dad’s side of the family is Hainanese so that’s what we grew up eating a lot of. It’s a must-have!

Q: Where do you usually get your inspiration from when it comes to fusion food?

Adam: I don’t set out to cook, say, Singaporean food on one day, then Japanese food the other. When you cook a lot of different cuisines, you can try and bring certain things across from one to another in a way that makes more sense.

Q: You’ve been cooking for many years now but what motivates you to keep cooking?

Adam: To me, it’s therapeutic and relaxing. But it’s also because I like feeding my family. I have a small son I like to cook for. I don’t look at cooking as being difficult or a chore that I have to do. I just enjoy it!

Q: If there’s only one thing you can have for the rest of your life, what you would have?

Adam: That’s impossible. You can’t have just one thing! You’ll get of sick no matter what. But five things I could do: chicken rice, Japanese ramen, Korean bulgogi, hamburgers just to change it up a little bit and maybe congee for those days when you don’t feel like having all the other ones. I also like my congee with century eggs but I don’t have them all that often at home because I’m the only one who eats them.