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‘When I’m not working, I cook.’

Chef Lagenda is a Malaysian food institution in Melbourne’s western suburbs. With the franchise opening its latest restaurant at Woodlea Town, get to know Thomas, Head Chef and founder.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Ipoh, a town in Malaysia renowned for its cuisine. I have been a chef for most of my life and it is a huge part of who I am!

What has your journey been with Chef Lagenda?
I first brought the authentic traditional Malaysian hawker-style food to Melbourne at Chef Lagenda. I have worked as head chef at many restaurants in Melbourne. In 2001, I took my expertise in Malaysian cuisine to Taiwan, where I spent two years as executive chef and consultant to two restaurants in Taipei.

On returning to Melbourne in 2003, I took my passion for Malaysian food continued and established my own business. In 2010, we opened Chef Lagenda, realising a long-held dream to open a warm, welcoming, traditional Malaysian restaurant which showcases the authentic cuisine of my home-town, Ipoh, and where food is fresh and tailored to the individual customer.

With 35 years experience, I lead the kitchen at Chef Lagenda, and am joined by head chef Alan Chew, who also has over 30 years experience in Malaysian cooking. Alan established Chinta Ria in St Kilda, where he worked for many years, and he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Chef Lagenda kitchen.

What do you like to do outside of work?
Funnily enough, I love to cook! I have a special connection with food and it has always been a big part of my life. I can go into a room and meet people and struggle to remember names, but take me into a kitchen and I will be able to recall exactly how many spring onions were in the fridge. I have two grown children and I love to spend time with my family.

What are you most excited about at Woodlea Town?
Woodlea is a really nice, expanding area with a lot of growth. We’re looking forward to introducing the community to our beloved cuisine and welcoming past and new customers.

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