From Malaysia to New York

As residents of Westchester, we were excited to watch a chef from the county display his culinary talents on a recent episode of Chopped. Chef Mogan Anthony, born and raised in Malaysia, is currently a Chef at Village Social in Mt. Kisco. We caught up with Chef Mogan to learn more about him and his experience on the show.

FP: How did you get your start with cooking? 

MA: I just love to eat! When I was little I used to sneak food all the time at home and even when we would grocery shop.

FP: When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

MA: I realized I wanted to be chef when I got a job working at The Four Seasons hotel in Singapore as a waiter\food runner. We had lots of European guest chefs come through and I was fascinated by their precision, focus and discipline.

Mogan

FP: Name some chefs that have inspired you.

MA: Jean Georges, I actually ended up working for him in three different restaurants in NY. His son Cedric Vongericthen was my trainer and I worked closely with him in Jean Georges and Perry Street, which are both Michelin Star restaurants.

FP: Working for Jean Georges must have been a great experience!  

Tell us about your experience on Chopped.

MA: It was very challenging and I was a nervous wreck….but I enjoyed testing myself to see what I was capable of!

FP: What was the hardest ingredient to work with? 

MA: The crab bisque for the entree round was actually pretty disgusting. I really did not like it. I turned that into lobster cream fraiche to bring my dish together and add little body and tang to the dish.

FP: Which round was the toughest? 

MA: No question…the dessert round. Dessert is bit of science, measuring is a huge part of making desserts right and tasty! 30 minutes is barely enough time to heat the oven!

FP: We can only imagine the pressure you were under!

When you’re not working at Village Social, what are some of your favorite meals to cook for yourself and for guests?

MA: For me, I like simply seared salmon over salad. For guests, I love seasonal ingredients and I like to incorporate lots of vegetables into my dishes I make at home and for when we have guests.

FP: If you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in Westchester.

MA: I recently went to Pig and Khao on the Lower East Side and it was a great meal. I also really like the Little Kabob Station in Mount Kisco. They have good food and I love their lassi!

FP: Mmm…lassi! We could for a glass or two right now!

What are some of your guilty pleasures? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂

MA: After long day in a kitchen, I like to finish my day with a simple scoop of ice cream, preferably chocolate chip ice cream.

FP: Name three individuals you would want to invite over for dinner and what you would prepare for them.

MA: I love to cook for chefs that have invested their time in me, were willing to train and teach me when I really didn’t have any experience. For me it is special just to show them how far I have come.

Some of the chef’s I would like to cook for are Chef Brian Lewis (Bedford Post Inn now at Elm Restaurant in New Canaan CT. Chef Jeremy McMillan at Bedford Post Inn, Chef Erik Battes & Chef Cedric Vongerichten from Jean Georges in NYC.

For dinner, I would cook some of my hometown inspired street food such as laksa aka coconut curry noodle, sambal stuffed mackerel and street cart style shaved ice with palm sugar.

FP: That dinner sounds great! 

In three words, how would your friends and family describe you?

MA: Hard working, humble and creative.

FP: If you hadn’t become a chef, what would you be doing? Any non-cooking hobbies? 

MA: Maybe become a DJ…..lol, I love being outdoors, playing soccer and running so who knows!

FP: Thank you Chef Mogan for your time! We can’t wait to visit Village Social in the very near future so we can taste some of your cooking!


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