ANGELA MAY IS A NATURAL. Whether it’s being in front of a camera, or decked in chef whites cooking in the kitchen, she makes it look effortless.
As a child, the American-Thai’s favourite snack was cinnamon sugar doughnuts. Her mother would always have ready-made dough in the fridge, and she would roll and pop these into the deep-fryer for an instant treat.
May recalls a day when she wanted doughnuts and no one was home; the young May tried her hand at cooking for the first time, dropping dough balls into sizzling hot oil and sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar.
Since then, May has made her name as a food and travel host, appearing on shows like First Look for HBO. She’s also a familiar face at the prestigious cooking competition Bocus d’Or, where she first met the founder of Deliciae Hospitality Management, Olivier Bendel.
May joined DHM in 2015 to open her own restaurant, Angela May Food Chapters (now known as Ange Cafe). She recently launched her line of gourmet products, from vegan nut butters to gluten-free sesame cookies.
We speak to May over a cup of tea and some fresh bakes.
How would you describe your typical day in one sentence?
Chaotic bliss peppered with laughter, caffeine, way too much food, and winding down with my family of rescue dogs.
Tell us about a turning point which made a big difference in your career.
Moving back to Singapore and choosing to grow roots with the restaurant. I feel I’ve lived everywhere but have never had a country choose to love me back the way I’ve chosen Singapore.
What does empowerment mean to you?
I think the empowerment conversation is a very interesting one because I never felt like I was empowered when I was younger.
Now that I’m much older, I feel that empowerment definitely comes with age. When you’re younger, you’re a little bit cockier. Then the world slaps you around a bit, and it takes those lessons for you to realise, ‘Oh, I did know nothing.’
(Empowerment is) about getting up every day, just like everybody else. Putting your big boy pants on, and you go and you do the best job possible, every single day.
If you could coach another woman on the three essential things to do to realise their potential, what would they be?
Give yourself enough trust to try. Use failure as a lesson to do better.
Women often allow the people around them to dictate their life when people give unsolicited advice. TRUST YOURSELF.
What do you think of AIDHA’s mission to empower woman with self-starting culture and financial knowledge?
I think having more of these adult learning classes and things that empower people to go back home and be able to build a business is always going to be fantastic.
One of the things I love about this mission is knowing how stupid I was when I was young. When you’re young, you always think you’re invincible. But it helps to have another viewpoint; for somebody else to be able to say ‘Look, you can do this. You’ve got this. Go!’
Angela May’s newly-launched range of vegan nut butters and ready-to-make cookie doughs will be available in the Keyyes shop* for the month of March.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, 10% of proceeds* from every sale of the Women’s Day Capsule Collection will be donated to AIDHA, a platform that empowers lower-income women through sustainable wealth creation.
*This promotion has ended its run, for a recap head over to Keyyes TV.