Jit has been working with Pho almost since they first opened. As their executive chef, she is responsible for those delicious, warming broths that suit our unreliable English weather. But what makes her tick? Read on to find out…
Who inspired you to work in the food industry?
My mother. When I was younger I loved helping her prepare the family meal. I would help her wash and cut the vegetables, and to mix whatever ingredients she needed to cook the dishes. After all the hard work we would sit together and enjoy this special meal, and as it was prepared with love it would always bring us love and happiness.
Cooking is not just a job to me; it is a passion. Every time I think about cooking, memories of my childhood come rushing back and I remember how it brought us so much joy and love. That's why my passion for it is so strong; I love to let others feel how I feel and to experience what I do.
What's your first food memory?
My first food memory is this simple but amazing dish that mum would cook: seafood fried rice. The reason for this is because my mum would go far to find all ingredients of the highest possible quality. She would prepare this dish with so much passion, making sure that no single detail was forgotten, from the ingredients to the preparation. For her it must taste just as good as it looks.
Is there any difference in being a female chef?
To me, there is no difference between male and female chefs as we are both able to come up with the same quality end product.
Do you have a strong female role model in your life?
My yoga master. I look up to the fact that she started from just attending a class. She felt alive and enjoyed it a lot, she then wanted to progress further and make sure she was doing the right thing. It was a calling for her; she knew that this was the path for her. By that time she needed to practice a lot, teach a lot and study a lot to improve herself.
To share her knowledge and experience with others, she wanted to follow her dream of opening her own studio. That way people can come and enjoy what she enjoys, and feel her how she feels. She trained every day, until she reached that goal of opening her own studio.
Even so, she hasn't stopped there; she still pushes herself to the limit every day. In terms of comparing her to myself, the way she set her mind on her goals and achieved them by putting in the hard work is an inspiration to me. I would like to be able to push myself like that to achieve my goals.
What's the dish you are most proud of, and why?
I'm most proud of our pho noodle soups as we cook the stocks with a depth of flavor that is really difficult to achieve. We only use the best ingredients, and we cook them for more than 12 hours each, we've managed to get the timing just right.
What advice do you wish you could've given yourself when you were first starting out?
I would have told myself to try to do everything as well as I can, and always strive to learn and do better.
If you weren't a chef, what do you think you'd be doing?
I think I would be a farmer or gardener.
What role did your parents play in getting you interested in food (if at all?)?
My parents allowed me to do anything that I wanted to do and gave me all their support to have success.
Is there a dish on your menu that is inspired by a family recipe?
Our banana fritters – an amazing dish on our dessert menu. Lightly fried bananas served with coconut or honey ice cream and fresh mint.
What's the thing that your mum makes better than you?
Everything! She always cooked from the heart and cooked for everyone that she loved.
If you're hankering for some pho, hit up Deliveroo – we've got what you need!