For an enterprising artiste like Victor Lee, having to stay home during Malaysia’s movement control order (MCO) means coming up with ways to exercise his creativity.
Lee decided to start his own cooking show on Facebook with a 28-day vegetarian cooking challenge.
With the meatless concept in mind, Lee named his cooking show Meat Out V Cuisine.
“I went vegetarian two years ago, and I always cook at home anyway. So, I decided to share my cooking experiences with a variety of different dishes, ” he said in a phone interview.
In addition to his cooking challenge, Lee, 38, is also conducting a Facebook live show for desserts. “Everyday, I will share my new cooking video on my social media at 5pm. I also have a live show at 3pm on my Facebook to chit-chat with fans and also share tips on some tea time desserts. Since this is my first time making desserts, it is actually quite challenging.”
Since cooking happens to be one of Lee’s favourite pastimes, he actually looks forward to dishing up a hearty meal when he gets home after a long day at work.
“I often cook at home and invite my friends to come over and eat with me.
“In the past, I always cooked meat and seafood dishes. Now, even though I’ve become a vegetarian, I’ve got no problems adapting my cooking methods to a plant-based diet, ” said Lee, who professes a preference for Hokkien and Cantonese-style stir-fried and braised dishes.
For example, Lee described how he could still enjoy his favourite spicy dish, because adapting the recipe is as simple as substituting the meat with a plant-based source of protein.
“I’m so in love with chilli and curry, that almost every dish I cook will have chilli in it. One of the dishes I used to enjoy making was curry chicken. Now I still use the same sauces and seasonings, but substitute the chicken with lion’s mane mushroom. It ends up tasting just as good, ” shared Lee, describing one of his go-to dishes when he is out to impress someone.
Due to the MCO, Lee only gets his groceries once a week, so he has to plan the ingredients for each dish carefully in order to maximise resources.
This also means that the resourceful chef has to come up with new recipes to make use of whatever is available in his pantry.
“As can be seen in Episode 4. I stir-fried celery with preserved vegetables and dried chilli. It is an appetising sour and spicy combo, that goes well with rice or porridge.
“The dishes that you see me cook in the videos are actually what I’ve been eating for my lunch and dinner all these days.”
Lee recalled how he first started playing chef when he was in Form One, and wanted to prepare nutritious meals for his siblings.
“I just learnt by observing my mum and dad while they were preparing our meals. By the way, my father is a chef. So, I believe the cooking talent comes from him, ” Lee said with a chuckle.
Lee said he decided to go with home cooking for his 28-day challenge as meal preparation holds a special meaning for him.
“It means reunion. So, I love to cook and watch my family and friends gather around the table and enjoy good food together. I just love that feeling, ” shared Lee, as he reminisced about his favourite braised mushroom dish that his father often cooked for their family’s reunion dinner.
For now, Lee said Meat Out V Cuisine is a one-man show, as he films each cooking session using his smartphone, holding the gadget with his left hand and using the spatula with his right.
“Now, I don’t appear in the videos. Maybe later you will get to see me in the video demonstrating how to prepare ingredients for cooking.”