Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, commonly known as Chef Wan, is one of the most famous television chefs in Malaysia and the region, recognised for his tireless dedication to promoting Malaysian and Asian cuisine to the world. The multi-award-winning celebrity chef, TV host, restaurateur and author first captured the hearts of Malaysians with his cooking show in the 1990s, which came as a breath of fresh air thanks to his colourful personality.
He gained a much wider international audience—both for himself and for Asian cuisine—with his subsequent TV shows, including East Bites West, where he travelled around the UK in a food truck, educating Brits about Malaysian and Southeast Asian cuisines. He was also featured in Anthony Bourdain’s massively popular show No Reservations during the late host’s trip to Malaysia.
Chef Wan’s path to the food business may not have been a straight road—he was initially an accountant—but he got a taste of it while helping his mother sell kuih (Malaysian snack food) when he was young. He studied the culinary arts at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, obtaining an Associate Degree in Professional Chef Training and Hotel Management. He also has a Ritz Escoffier School Diploma from the Hôtel Ritz, Paris.
Besides his great success as a TV chef and having his own restaurants, Chef Wan has authored at least a dozen cookbooks, and, in January 2021, launched his own branded social media and e-commerce platform, chefwanlifestyle.com.my. He has won many international awards for promoting Asian cuisine to the world. He is also the Culinary Ambassador for Tourism Malaysia and has travelled widely, endorsing his country’s beloved, unique and rich food culture.