She’s made a name for herself as a seasoned blogger in the F&B industry, but few know that Sihan Lee nearly gave up writing as a career after scoring a low grade for General Paper in school.
The 33-year-old regrets going down the rigid path of engineering instead of pursuing journalism in university. “If I could turn back the hands of time, I would have told the younger me to follow my heart,” says Lee. She started her own blog over 10 years ago, before taking a leap of faith and leaving her full-time job to enrol in Le Cordon Bleu (Australia). It was here that she landed a stint working alongside pastry whizz, Adriano Zumbo.
“He’s very quiet, but his head is always teeming with ideas,” says Lee.
While pastry-making remains one of her favourite ways to unwind, Lee spends more time these days checking out the city’s trendiest bars and sipping on cocktails, and spirits. Her go-to drink at a bar: a glass of good rum. “Personally, I find rum pairings with food more fun and interesting,” shares Lee, though she wouldn’t say no to a glass of crisp, refreshing vino.
She recently fell in love with Samai, a Cambodian rum made with molasses from Koh Kong. Her top picks from the Keyyes marketplace include a sweet and complex Neisson Agricole Extra Vieux rum and a jammy 10-year-old Ben Nevis single malt whisky.
We talked about what “empowerment” means to Lee.
How would you describe a typical day of yours, in one sentence?
A beautiful mess, one that typically involves me painting a pretty picture of mouth-watering fare and wanderlust with words, and then ending with one too many cocktails.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken?
To think that I could really make a career out of writing, and leaving everything that was seen as ‘proper’ to take the plunge.
What does empowerment mean to you?
Before, I used to think that empowerment was something you bestow upon yourself. Now, I realised that empowerment is about giving others strength; recognising how your words and opinions have the ability to empower others.
What do you think of Aidha’s mission to empower woman with self-starting culture and financial knowledge?
We usually take the misfortunes of our domestic workers for granted and in this case, having an entire movement aimed at transforming their lives and helping them to break out of the poverty cycle is indeed very close to my heart.
It’s really about the small changes that can have a major ripple effect on society and in which case, building the awareness in that target community to want to acquire new skills to better their lives and those of their families back home is indeed a noble cause.
If you could coach another woman on the three essential things to do to realise their potential, what would they be?
I would coach them to cook — arduously, incessantly and passionately. Because (cooking) is a symbol of love.
To be mindful, starting with reading, writing, thinking and speaking. That is the key to being self-aware.
And lastly, perseverance. It’s only when we learn to face our demons and those judging us that we grow to be aware that our main challenge lies within. Once we get past that the mental barrier of the fear of failure, only then can we realise our full potential.
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.
*A minimum spend of SGD 250 within the entire Keyyes marketplace is required
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