Who doesn’t know Farah Quinn? This gorgeous and exceptionally talented TV chef has a lot more going for her than her looks, as we found out when we posed these 30 questions to the stylish star.
What is your favourite food and drink?
I have a weakness for pastries, so while I try to eat super healthy and love clean food, pastries are still in my heart. As for drinks, my favourite would be either water or coconut water. I don’t drink any soda or syrupy drinks, but I do like Monin.
OK. So what is your least favourite food and drink?
Fried food. I don’t like to eat fried food and I don’t eat white rice. And for drinks, I stay away from anything carbonated or full of sugar as I don’t like them.
What is the one food you want to cook but so far you haven’t been able?
There are so many foods that I want to cook, but I probably need to find out where I can learn how first. So there would be many things, like Indian desserts—they are quite complicated to make.
What is on your kitchen counter?
My kitchen counter is quite clean, but I always have fruit and jars of cookies.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
All the places are so memorable—I have so many favourite places. I love being in Montenegro; I love being in Japan; I love New Zealand... So I think that every time I have the chance to explore the world, it’s always memorable for me.
What is your fantasy itinerary?
I want to take my son to the two continents he’s never been to before, so my fantasy would be to take him to Africa and Antarctica before he turns 10. That would mean that he’s been to all the continents in the world before turning 10.
What is your recipe for keeping in shape?
Well, it takes a lot of discipline to keep my figure and to have a lot of energy. I’m a very energetic person, so when there’s something different in my lifestyle—let’s say that I don’t keep up with my workout and I don’t eat good—I can feel it right away. It takes away a lot of my energy. That’s why I keep up with whatever I’m doing because I love the feeling of being full of energy. That’s why I keep super busy.
What is your beauty tip to keep looking flawless?
I think you have to drink a lot of water and you have to keep up with your workouts. It shows a lot when you do your exercise—it shows from your body and it shows from your energy, so that’s important.
How do you feel when people say you look like Rihanna?
I think it’s cool because I like Rihanna. She’s amazing and I adore her.
Describe your favourite fashion style.
Well, I don’t know. It’s like now the older I get, the younger I want to look. But I think staying classy is very important. I love to wear those kinds of pieces.
What are three words that best describe you?
Fun, energetic, and delicious.
Who is your idol or favourite personality and why?
I always like very strong female figures, like Benazir Bhutto, with the things she had to go through. I always find it inspiring to hear the stories of these women and to find out what a woman has done for a community or for a country. I adore things like that.
What is the hardest part about being a mum?
The hardest part is just trying to be there all the time because I’m a single mum. I adore being a mother so much, but I also need to make time for the family. I think the hardest thing for me is when I’m away from my son.
How do you balance your work and family life?
I try my best to always be there, but, of course, with my travelling and with my busy schedule it doesn’t always happen. But my son knows that. He knows that all of his family loves him and that they will take care of him no matter what. And we do try be there even during my busiest season—probably even summer—which is when he goes to spend time with his grandmother in the US. His father is in Japan, so we try to rotate and he gets to spend time with everybody. This really helps me a lot.
On a scale of one to 10, how excited are you about your life right now?
I’m super excited. I think it’s got to be 12!
Last year was probably a bit difficult because of the economic situation and due to some life-changing things that I had to go through. But this year is very exciting. It’s a Monkey Year, and I’m a Monkey, so there are many new opportunities and I think it’s going to be a big one.
Can you describe the experience that has made you happiest?
When I gave birth. That’s got to be one of the happiest days of my life!
What is your favourite thing to do to relax?
That’s the problem with me: I don’t get to relax so much. Even when I’m on vacation I love to be on a schedule, and I think I also like to just hang out. Just get a tan on a beach somewhere.
What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Probably when my son made me a full set of breakfast-in-bed for Mother’s Day. That’s like the sweetest thing ever.
A book you have read that positively changed you?
I read a lot of books like Buddhist philosophy, which, I think, really changes me a lot, although I’m not even a Buddhist. But many of those words are very powerful and this inspires me; it just makes you think and try to be a better person.
How do you feel about the Internet and the social media?
They can be good; they can be bad. I think the Internet and social media have opened up a lot of the world. You can pretty much talk to anybody in the world these days; people can reach you right away. But on the other side of the coin, it’s also bad, because it could make you distant from your family and friends in many ways. So I think that as long as you know when to say “yes”, when to say “no”, when to use it, when not to use it, I think social media is amazing.
Wise words to live by?
Be kind. Be kind, and be kind.
For now, how do you see love and whom do you see yourself with?
I see myself with someone who is just really strong, because the thing is, I’m very independent and I’m quite dominating in relationship, so I think someone would have to be either someone like a house dad or, at the other end of the spectrum, someone that’s much stronger than me.
What is your favourite part of your body and why?
My abs! I love them because I’m a mum and I still have six-pack abs. It still looks good so when I go to the beach I like to put on my bikini.
Some people associate your image with being just a sexy chef. Did you purposefully build that image?
Actually, I’ve always liked to look and feel good. I love to feel good and I love to look good. And I think that I’ve made that a habit in my life, like keeping up with my workouts and then staying healthy and all that. It’s just part of my lifestyle. As a result, you know, you get a sexy body and people say, “oh but you’re sexy”. I think you should just be grateful and start worrying when people don’t call you sexy anymore.
How do you feel when people focus more on your sexiness than your achievements?
The thing is, when you take care of yourself— when you have a good body and you have to good look—plus you have the skills and the brains, you do have to work twice as hard because people always judge you. And they always think that you got a job or achieved something or you made it through something because of the way you look, or who she’s dating.
So people will always talk like that, and the best way to change this is to just keep improving yourself. That’s because if you show them that you’re more than just a pretty face: that you have talent and you’re determined, disciplined, you work hard, and you’re smart, later on they would be like “OK, you just got it.”
What is the coolest thing about being a celebrity chef?
Well, I get to eat everywhere; I get to travel, I get amazing endorsements, I get to visit all the best restaurants and I meet all the amazing chefs. I have such a delicious job. I don’t want to make you jealous, but it’s amazing.
As an entertainer, have you ever thought about acting or singing?
I think people would run away if I sang. So I wish I could sing, but I can’t. As for acting, maybe if it was just a cameo or I was playing myself, I could probably do it. But everything I do must have something to do with food or lifestyle.
Chef or celebrity… Which one would you prefer to be known as and which is more of a fit for you?
I prefer to be called both, although I’m more like a cook than a chef now. That’s because my background is as a pastry chef; someone with a passion for the culinary arts, especially pastries. And now what I’ve become is more like a cook. Or a baker.
What are you currently busy with? Are there any projects you’re involved in you can tell us about?
Yes. This year is my big year—I’m so busy! Besides all the visiting resorts and countries, now it’s airlines—always something to do with travel! I have my own menu being served on a Dutch Airline, so when you fly abroad, you can taste my food. Also I’m working on a few projects: I’m going to have my own line of food products out and also my bakeware. Hopefully, we’re starting a new cooking school, too—and checking out cute boys [laughs].
You appeared on TV as a chef. What about being a chef in your own restaurant in Indonesia?
I had a restaurant before, and, to be quite honest, it’s a lot of hard work. Maybe if you had 20 restaurants you might make a lot of money. But for me, to spend all my time just to focus on a restaurant, it’s not for me. I need to do something beyond that.
So, with the name that I’ve built, I’m focusing on the business and I want something way bigger. That’s why I want to do the bakeware product lines, I want to do the seasonings, the food products, cooking schools, all of that. Of course, I need to be there for quality control; I have to check, but still. It’s not like a restaurant where you have to sit there every day single day to make sure everything is OK. So maybe a restaurant later on. But you can always taste my food on the plane. At least for now.
For more details about Farah Quinn, read Cover Story section in our April 2016 edition.
Watch the video interview here!
Photo by Hendra Kusuma; Wardrobe by Fendi