By Nicholas Koo
Cooking for passion
Cooking in school may seem like a daunting task for some, but for Glen Kuick, 22, it only takes a non- stick pan and a pinch of passion.
The second-year School of Social Sciences student picked up cooking as a teenager while helping his grandmother in the kitchen. Before long, he was taking food orders from family members and was even put in charge of family dinners. They loved his dishes, whipped up exactly as they wanted it.
But Kuick’s passion could not be confined to just cooking for his family; he is now feeding his university friends too.
After cooking pork chops for a friend who did not like pork, and managing to change her mind, Kuick was inspired to do more with food.
Now, he wants to influence people to be more open to food and its possibilities.
He does so by cooking dishes for friends and challenging himself by adding an ingredient they dislike into the dish, only revealing this after they’ve tried it. These secret ingredients have ranged from fish and other meats, to leek and celery. This would often surprise many
of his friends, who would find themselves enjoying what Kuick had served.
With every dish he plates, the young cook is changing people’s mindsets about food.
“It has to start somewhere from someone,” he said. “No matter how small, at least there’s a difference made to anyone I come across.”
Cooking for fellowship
For some, cooking in school is a bonding activity. Just ask Joel Ang, 23, and his roommate in Hall of Residence 16, Quek Wen Jie, 23.
The pair has different cooking styles — Ang is organised and likes to refer to recipes, while Quek prefers to use his intuition when deciding what ingredients to add to the mix.
But both agree that spending time together in the kitchen helps to take their minds off work.
“Cooking is partly about the food, but ultimately it’s all about the company, which makes the process fun,” said Ang, a second-year Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information student.
The roommates enjoy cooking for their friends in hall, too.
And though most students run the age-old excuse of being strapped for time, Ang’s stance is:
“We’ve got to make time.”
Students have the convenience of two supermarkets in school, and sourcing for groceries does not take long either, he said.
“All we need to cook are a wok and spatula — not that much of a hassle.”