5 rrrrencah 5 rrrasa (nak sebut kena ikut slang sher..heheh)
How does a simple, small-town lad become a cook show host on national television? With a good head on his shoulders, a positive outlook on life, a persevering spirit, a determined fixation on pursuing his dreams and the willingness to jump at any opportunity. And, of course, having a love for food!
Chef Sherson Lian, who is of British and Chinese parentage, is the host of the Malay cook show, 5 Rencah, 5 Rasa on TV3. The show features mostly Malay cuisine and Lian hosts the show in fluent Malay.
He attributes his passion for cooking to his mother, who is herself, a fantastic cook and fluency in Bahasa Malaysia to just being Malaysian.
“Food,” explains Sherson “can be a platform for so many things”. And one of the "things" that food can do, according to him, is to build better relationships.
“In our country, the various races regularly meet in a working capacity. But those are just obligatory working relationships. However, to learn a dish, you have to go beyond that obligatory working relationship. You have to lower your pride. Hence you move from an impersonal relationship to a more personal one."
By doing the show, he hopes -- as a Chinese cooking Malay food – to encourage other Malaysians to learn to cook one another’s dishes and through that, foster better relationships with one another
But, what actually got him into cooking? Need that arose out of adversity.
In 1994, at the time of the global economic crisis, Sherson’s father's jewellery business took a plunge, because no one wanted to buy jewellery then.
To support her family financially, Mrs Lian opened a small café along Old Klang Road. The café was so small, it did not even have a kitchen. All the cooking had to be done at home and then brought to the café where it was heated up using an oven.
Being the eldest of his three siblings, Sherson had to help out. At the age of 10, he had learnt how to peel onions and garlic for his mother, and by 12, he was serving customers, wiping tables and learning to cook.
As business in the café picked up, Mrs Lian decided to upgrade – she bought the lot next door, built a kitchen and transformed her tiny café into a restaurant.
Her special roti john quickly became a popular favourite among the locals. Mr Lian took on a business partner and, together, they opened a few more restaurants in Kajang and Ampang and hired chefs to manage them.
Sherson spent all his school holidays helping his family run their flourishing restaurant business. With a passion for food and cooking ingrained in him from a young age, Sherson went from restaurant to restaurant, picking up recipes and skills from different chefs.
Finally, at 17, upon completing SPM, Mr Lian saw the potential in his son and his love for the culinary arts, and gave Sherson a restaurant of his own to manage.
It was no small feat to manage a restaurant, but the encouragement and support of his father, who allowed him the space to make his own decisions, gave him the confidence to overcome the challenges he faced.
Two years later saw Mr Lian and his business partner parted ways. By that time, the Lian family had plans to build a resort atop a hill they own – the “Holy Ghost Hill” (officially renamed “Bukit Hantu”) -- in Alor Gajah, Malacca.
Sherson was then in the midst of completing a six-month Hotel Industry Apprenticeship Scheme with Taylors College that came with a one-year attachment to a hotel -- which he would later forfeit to work in his family resort.
Half a year later, construction of the El Sanctuary hill resort was finished. The family sold their restaurants and moved back to their hometown in Malacca to open El Sanctuary which they run to this day.
El Sanctuary is best known for its comforting surrounding foliage and the food. A packaged deal for a night at El Sanctuary includes home-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner personally prepared by Sherson and his mother.
It was right in his own kitchen where he finally got his “big break”.
One day, a guest with connections with TV3 who was staying at the resort asked him if he would like to star as a host on a television cook show. Without hesitation, Sherson replied “Yes!” A week later, he went in for an audition at Sri Pentas.
“The room was so cold,” he recalls.
“They gave me a demo script and five ingredients that were not even on the script, and told me to present (the food items). I was so nervous, plus the script was in BM! At the first shoot, I was practically shouting and the producer had to tell me to ‘chill’! But after a few rounds it was ok.”
Sherson describes the week that followed his audition as full of suspense and anticipation. “I didn’t know if I would get it,” he confessed. “I became even more anxious when I came out (of Sri Pentas) and realized I wasn’t the only one auditioning.”
Then one day, while cooking at El Sanctuary, a text came saying he got the part. “I started yelling like a madman in the kitchen!”
And his career took off. Now, he is branching out.
“I want to build a burger franchise, using my own burger sauce,” he says. Sherson hopes to set up burger stalls all over the nation and engage people who are in need of work or financial aid to manage those stalls.
“When they have made enough money," he says, “they can buy the stall from me and it will be theirs.”
Currently the budding entrepreneur chef is researching patties for his burgers and sending in business proposals to new factories in Alor Gajah to produce his burger patties.
“Be brave, take risks, mix with the right people and pray,” says Sherson, a man of faith, to anyone out there who has a dream. “You need to believe in what you love to do.”
He tells parents whose children have "unconventional ambitions", to let them choose what they want to do. “They are the ones who have to live their lives.”
With such determination and passion, as well as the unconditional support from his family, Chef Sherson is on his way to success.
His words..food can build better relationships
Nanti kita jumpa lagi Sher yep kat 703 setiap hari Senin malam...huhu...i like him very much!!!