Nestled in the uphills of Mont Kiara’s many residential suites is The Food Studio, a quaint expanse hidden from plain view except to those who know where to look. Located in the housing development that is Amarin Kiara, this exclusive restaurant event space plays host to a broad variety of culinary-related escapades.
At the command is Datin Nadia Wong, who took over the establishment in December 2020 from friend and previous owner, Chef Paul Neukirch, following his return to Germany.
A patron of the corporate event management and consultancy industry, Nadia was responsible for a diverse portfolio of national festivals and ceremonies prior to her role at The Food Studio. But when the pandemic hit, she had to find a way to stay afloat when the industry took a hefty blow, and that came in the form of this new venture.
“The truth is, The Food Studio came about due to the pandemic,” confessed Nadia.
“One way for me to pivot from my mainstream business was to expand to include a private dining experience, with the option to open the kitchen space for other events that included shoots, workshops and such.”
Pushed by the inevitable, Nadia had to shift gears and learn to adapt to the situation, while also ensuring that her new business evolved without losing its initial spirit.
Taking cues from her own years of experience, she admits having to constantly think out of the box when faced with adversity, stating that, “even though it is an extension of what I did in my former business, this felt like a whole other ball game to me."
"The challenges I faced actually came from having no F&B knowledge, and no soft skills to match the industry.”
“Looking back, it would’ve been nice to have a partner with such experience by my side to steer the business forward.”
Diving into a landscape unbeknownst to her at the time, Nadia had to learn a thing or two when it came to how to run an F&B space. Finding that it varied vastly from her previous line of work, this was a wake-up call that changed her perception of what it meant to be a business owner.
Yet, this didn’t stop her from being quick to learn what the business needed, finding that focusing on the nitty-gritty and fine tuning to the tee was a key element to success, and being prepared for the unexpected when it comes to clients.
Moving forward, the future seems bright for the event space. Recently, The Food Studio was used to set the scene for a few episodes of this year’s Bernama Ramadan cooking special, ‘Masak Apa Chef? With Chef Bob,’ which you could say also served as a public comeback for the studio.
Not stirred by a difficult path, Nadia has managed to breathe new life into The Food Studio, transforming it from a private dining space to a space where anyone can be a chef. And according to Nadia, this is just the beginning.
“So far, it’s been tough, but we remain positive as we are starting to see “some light at the end of the tunnel. We hope to grow the business to a franchising brand; tough but not impossible!”
Penny For Your Thoughts
How would you define a “good life” and/versus a “successful life”?
I would have to say that having a good life is being fortunate and being grateful for everything. As long as we see the cup as half full and not half empty, then life will always be good no matter the circumstances.
A successful life to me would have to be "having been there and done that." Having to put in blood, sweat and tears to get to where one wants to be and seeing the rewards in terms of validity in the lives of those who matter, defines the sense of achievement and success to me.
If you could choose to be anyone in the world - who would you want to be, and why?
I think at this point in time, I see a woman of substance in Angeline Jolie. She defines a personality with beauty and power. She is obviously exceptionally beautiful yet fearless and has her heart in the right place as both a role model and a humanitarian activist. You cannot change the world, but you can make a difference.
Advice you would give your younger self.
Never wait, never procrastinate, and never be afraid to take up challenges when opportunities knock on your door. As fearful as you might be, take it. You may succeed, you may fail, either way, there is something to learn from it.