This year’s Her World Good Men campaign shines the spotlight on 12 men—each of them influential leaders in their respective fields with the social media followings to prove it.

Lennard Yeong (@lennardy) is an in-house chef at Miele Singapore. An engineer by training, the 33-year-old taught himself to cook and made a career switch after realising that being in the kitchen is his “escape”. Here are some things to know about him.

He went into engineering because he “didn’t know what to do”
“I went overseas to study when I was 17. I felt like engineering was a safe choice, and it was, but after I started working in the field I realised I didn’t really enjoy it. The only thing I looked forward to was the weekends because I’d would cook.”

He made it to the finals of the 2015 edition of Masterchef Asia
“I was in engineering for three years, quit to do the show, then went back for another two years. After leaving the industry, I worked part-time in restaurant kitchens, and it was only nine months later that I took up the job at my current company.”

He had a social media following even before joining the show
“I used to do a lot of intricate plating and the pictures would get reposted on websites such as The Art Of Plating, which helped with my following. I earned almost nothing when I was working in the kitchens, so I was grateful to have a side income through IG.”

He “struggles” to call himself a chef
“I don’t think I’ve earned my stripes to call myself that. I’m in a unique position–I get to do what I love, which is to cook, but I don’t work in a restaurant nor work 14-hour days for the most part. I hold cooking classes and do the showcases when there’s a product launch. I also cook the private dinners that we have with our business partners.”

He loves Japanese cuisine for its focus on “impermanence”
It’s very rooted in seasonality. We don’t have that concept in Singapore, and I think there are pros and cons to it. To have access to an ingredient constantly is definitely good, but sometimes, knowing that it will disappear after a few months makes you treasure it a bit more.”

He recently picked up painting
“I started with spray painting because I felt like I didn’t have the skill to do brush work. Then, I got into acrylic pouring, which needs very little technique but allows you to make something beautiful. My interest in art started during circuit breaker–I wanted to spruce up my room and quickly realised an art piece can really change the look.”

And loves dressing up
“I was into clothing even before I was into food and used to be on one of the first few fashion forums ever created, Superfuture. I recently started to post a bit more selfies and outfits. It wasn’t that I want to branch out and become a lifestyle influencer–it’s just boring when it’s all about food sometimes. I mean, if your whole life is saturated by one topic, it can be very stifling.”

Shirt, vest and jacket, Hermes

He’s actually a shy guy
“I think I’m quite introverted and camera-shy. I’m not really the life of the party when I walk into a room and I’m still quite awkward around people I don’t really know.”

But is happy to engage with followers
“I quite enjoy discussions with my followers and I’ve learnt so much from mine. Even when someone corrects me, I’m totally fine with that. It’s a journey where we learn together.”

To him, being a good man is about having integrity
“I feel like a lot of people have ethics that are very malleable. If someone wants to work with you, but you don’t agree with what they do, you shouldn’t take it up even if it’s a lot of money. I’ve turned away a lot of clients because I feel like the branding doesn’t align. If you believe in something, you should stand up for it.”

Photography: Veronica Tay
Art direction: Ray Ticsay
Styling: Lauren Alexa
Hair and grooming: Angel Gwee, using Nudestix & Davines; Zoel Tee, using Estee Lauder & Kevin. Murphy

A version of this story first appeared in the November 2021 issue of Her World.