I grew up in a household where bookshelves, hobbies, conversations, and obsessions invariably centred on food. These influenced me mostly by osmosis, as it were, until the age of 14, when I picked up a food magazine, flipped to an article about American dinner breads, and the food bug jumped out and bit me, hard. A month of exhaustive Parker House roll baking later, the infection had well and truly taken.

During my university days – a traditional testing ground for the cooking skills of callow youths away from home – I spent the hours between psychology tutorials cooking local dishes for homesick friends, writing food columns for a student newsletter, and somewhat obsessively shlepping around cheap-n-good ethnic restaurants in shady corners of London. It was around this time that it first began to occur to me that I could make a career of combining my first love – writing – with my first joy – food.

the first thing I ever learnt to cook was a fried egg. some days it's still the first thing I want to eat.

Some years later, psychology degree safely under my belt, I joined the crew of Wine & Dine, Singapore's only home-grown fine food and wine magazine, where I worked my way up from feature writer to food editor. Besides researching and writing articles, including my own regular opinions column, I also contributed travel photos, created recipes, and styled covers and cover features.

Several years on, and lancing freely, I still do all these things, except that now my home (and my kitchen) is my office.

My articles, recipes, photographs and food styling have also been featured in magazines such as Saveur, New Asia Cuisine & Wine Scene, Flavours (Malaysia's principal food magazine), SC Global, Gourmet (the American food magazine), and Silver Kris, Singapore Airlines' inflight magazine. I write a fortnightly food column for The Straits Times, and I am a recipe developer and food columnist for the four Asian editions of Her World magazine.

My consultancy work for restaurants, publishing companies, and food companies comprises food styling, recipe development, and collateral editing.

You can read more about my food work here and my editorial services here.

no, that's not me, it's a Hong Kong tailor hard at work late at night, which is also the same time I'm most likely to be slogging.

In April 2001, an article I wrote the previous year based on research and interviews conducted by the entire Wine & Dine team including myself, won the Best Food & Beverage Article trophy at the WGS Awards of Excellence. This yearly industry event kicks off the annual World Gourmet Summit, a celebration of top chefs and cutting-edge cuisine that is an established part of the Singapore Food Festival.

In October 2000, I participated in the Slow Food Awards, held in Bologna, Italy, as one of over 600 international jury members called on to select and honour nominated individuals for their efforts to preserve foodways. In 2001, 2003 and 2007 I served on the jury of the Jacob’s Creek Food Media Awards, organised in conjunction with Tasting Australia, a biennial celebration of South Australian food and wine held in Adelaide.

August 2003 saw the launch of my first cookbook, Shiok!, and September 2004 my second, Cooking With Asian Leaves. You can read more about them and my subsequent cookbooks here.

birdseye chillies. lethal, but necessary for joy in life.