It’s always exciting to see old iconic buildings brought back to life, and one notable icon is REXKL. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, this seventy-year-old building survived two fires, and was subsequently abandoned for more than twenty years before local architects Shin Chang and Shin Tseng breathed new life into its structures. REXKL now houses a collective of social enterprises, and urban food and retail merchants.
This is a series highlighting the people behind The Back Ground, the urban food hall located in REXKL.
Where and how did you get started in hospitality?
Having graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and witnessing the effort it takes to excel in this industry, I’ve always thought that being on the consumer end would suffice. But as the saying goes ‘you never know where life takes you’ and here I am.
For those that haven’t visited, tell us a bit more about Flaaaah in your own words?
The Flaaah project was initiated with just the intent of setting a benchmark for good and accesible pastries in KL, at the same time being transparent with showing what goes into our food. We hope to grow at a consistent pace without compromising on quality and fulfil our ethos in the near future
Tell us more about pastry making. What aspects are the most challenging that you wish your customers appreciate?
The time and effort our team invest in every product. The thing with viennoiserie, when intended to be executed with consistency, is that it takes time. To start with, the dough has to be prepared and rested one day in advance for the gluten to be well developed ( a 3 days process in total for something that may seem as simple as a croissant). Proofing is also a challenge since you never know how the yeast might be “feeling” on the day. Sometimes, it takes longer than usual to achieve the size we want sometimes
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What is your favourite item on the menu and why?
A very subjective question but it’d have to be the savoury options, the Pepperoni Gruyère. Something that could be a meal on the go/snack with coffee at any time.
What’s the best thing about working in the hospitality industry?
the satisfaction and response from our guest or receiving repeating customers is sometimes more rewarding than the monetary incentives and it’s also what keeps the team’s morale going
What are your hopes for the hospitality industry?
For the domestic hospitality industry to take off, my hope is that the service industry will be viewed as a career worth striving for and not just a job to get by. Especially when it comes to employers being able to provide a work-life balance without compromising on the wage.
Image credit: Flaaah, REXKL Food Hall