Thursday, 14 July 2011

New Nada Budaya Restaurant in Nottingham

As promised, this is my first diary of setting up the new restaurant. I will share my knowledge, experience, up and low of setting up this restaurant. I hope they will all be lows! :)

The Logo for Nada Budaya Restaurant...very posh! :)

I am actually quite nervous with setting up the new Nada Budaya restaurant. For what I went through when setting up Ning Restaurant, somehow amazed me I want to go through all the hard work again. It's all about satisfaction but luckily this time I have my Auntie Maziah who is based in Nottingham will be running the restaurant with her husband. My job is just to set it up and get it running for her. Post work ie running the restaurant will be done by her and co which requires such commitment.

Briefly on Nada Budaya Restaurant, it will be 54 covers restaurant serving Malaysian food. Why Nada Budaya? Well here comes the story, my Auntie used to be in the pop band in 70s called Nada Budaya (Culture Rhythm). Yes, that's true. Well knowing the existing Malaysian restaurants in the UK mostly have Malaysian flower names, we thought why not to be different. We made it and do well with Ning Restaurant in Manchester, the name again was recommended by my Auntie believe it or not.

Today we met the Contractor on site. There's tons to do. I'm trying to remain calm. When it comes to setting up a restaurant, it's all about DECISION DECISION DECISION. All the decisions have to be made promptly after appointing the Contractor without delaying their works, which will cost us more. The electrician was present too, clearly whatever your decision is should not be affected by them. Some Contractors can use this opportunity to rake more money from you but my gut feeling the Contractor we appointed is very reasonable. Well perhaps too early for me to say that. We shall see! My style of making decision is to be simple, less headache, quickly make decisions and move on to next set of works. That's how I work.

Demolition works to start in two days time and next week will be more clearance done. They have 4 weeks to complete the works. 14th August should be the completion date and our soft launch to be on 25th August. Not long to go.

I hope this journal will assist whoever have a dream to set up a restaurant! Give me some feedbacks of what topics or ideas you want me to share with you. :)

Friday, 4 March 2011

My Malaysian Trip and Malaysia Kitchen Campaign!

Assalamualaikum and Hello All

As promised, here you are my first blog for 2011. I did write previously and as I have been attacked by the L.A.Z.Y bug, so I stopped for a while. A friend of mine told me to write this again as this will be a good record for my journey promoting Malaysian cuisine in the UK. That is a mission and I am looking forward to this journey.

Scene of me with 'nenek' looking for Bachang fruit. Blessed her, she was so nervous when told to do a bit of acting and she never stopped istighfar throughout the scene (reciting Quran words to calm herself down)

I have so many things to share on here but because I don’t want to bore you with such a long blog, I will try to keep it brief and I promise not to mention about the incident with Etihad Airways! For those who have been following my facebook MALAYSIAN CHEF NORMAN MUSA will understand why I have been nagging about this airline previously! grrrrr... hehe

Gorgeous and delicous food served by Auntie Aini at her cafe.

I was in Malaysia for 10 days and all I can say is it was AMAZING! Many meetings attended and all of them I can say were very good. I am glad my movements in the UK to promote Malaysian cuisine being noticed by my fellow Malaysians and they are willing to collaborate to make my presence in the UK stronger. One of my activities during this visit was filming with this very talented director/producer. I can’t mention her name yet as I want to keeps the suspense going. It was a privilege to be working with her and seriously I can’t wait to see the final result. I know it will turn out beautifully. You have to wait and see. We were in Nilai to capture the Malay kampung (village) atmosphere.

Market scene and look at the people around me acting as if nothing happened (or maybe they were not to bothered anymore as this happens in their market almost everyday..haha) and photo of me with Auntie Aini's family enjoying their lunch

We were there from 6am until 10pm and it was an amazing experience. To be there and to get to know Auntie Aini and her family was just wonderful. I grew up in the Kampung before and it was good to be back in that kind of environment again. The smell and sound you hear in the kampung plus Auntie Aini’s cooking of Negeri Sembilan cuisine were good enough to make me wanting to go back there next time I’m in Malaysia. I arrived back in Manchester this week to join the Ning team and Lotus restaurant for two days exhibition, funded by Malaysia Kitchen Campaign under MARTRADE. I missed out the first day due to the incident mentioned earlier. So I arrived back at 6am and at 11am, after few hours nap...I was out there at the exhibition trying to look fresh and chatting to the visitors. You can judge by looking at the video below whether I look fresh enough. Haha. The event was a success. The purpose of this is to create awareness of Malaysian food and from what I have witnessed the team did so well.

Video of the Malaysia Kitchen stall we organised to promote Malaysian cuisine

This coming Sunday I’m flying back to Malaysia. Yes it’s true and I’m crazy! Haha. There is an important meeting I have to attend. My diary in March is mad and if my projects from the meetings I had last week taking off then 2011 and perhaps 2012 will be double busy for me. All I can say is Alhamdulillah (Praise to God) for the good things happened.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Malaysian Chef Jumps Into the F1 Kitchen

SHINING STAR: Norman with Lotus Racing Team principal Tony Fernandes in Bahrain
LONDON: In the midst of the Lotus Racing team gearing up for a huge homecoming at the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang International Circuit, one very important member makes sure the team's drivers and crew stay well fed. He is young, self-taught chef, Norman Musa, one of the three official chefs for the 60-strong Lotus Racing entourage this F1 season, which ends in November.

Norman received a phone call last November from top F1 chef, Dave Freeman — who asked if he was interested to work with the Lotus Racing team. His Ning restaurant website came up when Freeman 'googled' for Malaysian chefs in the UK.

But the job didn't begin until a couple of weeks before the start of the F1 season on March 12 in Bahrain.

"It is definitely a challenge moving around to all the racing venues, getting the right ingredients from places I have never been, and working for a racing team instead of my restaurant. It is different but I am looking forward to doing my best," said the co-owner and head chef of Ning Restaurant in Manchester.

Norman, who hails from Butterworth, Penang, said: "I keep losing track of the days and dates. We just get on with work as it does get hectic on race days." Prior to that, Norman was back in Malaysia earlier this year to promote his recently published cookbook 'Malaysian Food', a collection of his favourite dishes and recipes with inspiring stories behind them. The book will be launched at KLCC on April 7.

"I wanted 2010 to be the year to get Malaysian food recognised throughout the UK and the world for its authenticity and diversity. Joining the Lotus Racing catering team wasn't in the plan but it is a fantastic opportunity."

Asked about his experiences so far, he said: "There’s no time to recover from jetlag. I often go straight to the race track with my kitchen team. Bahrain's track was in the middle of the desert. We were the first team to arrive and set up a restaurant. It was all very efficient." After two races, Norman is still getting used to the job. "Melbourne was not as hard as Bahrain. But it was not just the catering team who worked hard, other team members like the mechanics and technicians also put in a lot of effort.

"It was commented on the Lotus Facebook page that the food was excellent. So our hard work has paid off!" On interacting with the racing superstars, he said: "I see Jarno Trulli and Heiki Kovalainen almost every day but I still get tiny tingly nervous feelings when they start talking to me." Then, at last weekend's race in Melbourne, "I bumped into Lewis Hamilton, who took the back alley to go back to his paddock. He is so tiny and petite. All the drivers are small, apart from Mark Webber.

"I also bumped into Michael Schumacher, who stayed late before the qualifying day. He walked past in his white race suit. The experience was surreal, the most talked about figure in the Formula One business passed in front of me!" It seems a far cry for this former quantity surveyor of nine years, who went to the UK to study in 1994. Just last year, Norman was nominated Chef of the Year at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards.

During his F1 travels, business partner Andy Spracklen said: "Norman will continue to be Ning's executive chef and will return to the Ning kitchen between races." Opened in 2006, Ning's concept is influenced by the trendy noodle bars of Asian cities, with the relaxed and sociable ambience of continental European caf├ęs. The menu fuses the best of western quality and presentation with authentic Malaysian home cooking.

"In June, July and August, Norman will be heading three master cookery classes and four introductory cookery classes. It is a busy but exciting time for all of us," said Spracklen.

Article from The Malay Mail Friday April 2nd by Haliza Hashim-Doyle

Monday, 29 March 2010

A Malaysian in Melbourne

Melbourne is a great city. Plenty of things to do here and the weather is great. Their autumn is like summer in the UK.

The Lotus Catering team are always the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave as we have to set up the kitchen and pack up, so this gives plenty of time for me to explore the places we visit. I went to their Chinatown to see what’s it like. Not much different from London or Manchester’s Chinatown but many more Malaysian restaurants. I was there with my colleagues on the day we arrived. On the way back we all fell asleep on the tram due to jetlag and missed our stop.

Since we arrived, I keep losing track of days and dates. We just got on with work and things get hectic towards the race day. Two days ago I bumped into Lewis Hamilton who took the back alley to go back to his paddock. I guess he was avoiding the press and TV crews wandering around the main aisle. He is so tiny and petite. All the drivers are apart from Mark Webber. He is tall. I also bumped into Schumacher who stayed late before the qualifying day. He walked past in front of me in his white race suit. The experience was surreal. The most talked about figure in the Formula 1 business just walked in front of me! With Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, there’s no thrill anymore as I see them almost every day but I still get tiny tingle nervous feeling when they start talking to me. How odd.

Anyway about the food, it was commented on the Lotus Facebook page that the food was excellent. So hard work has paid off! This week is not as hard as when I was in Bahrain. It was close for me to decide not to do this anymore as it was really hard. It was not just us in the catering team work so hard, other teams like mechanics, technicians they work hard too.

Tonight I will be flying to Malaysia and I have been warned about the guest list over there but one for all, it will be good and hectic experience. Bye for now.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Lotus Racing in Bahrain!

I arrived in Bahrain at 8pm last night. Never been to Bahrain before so don’t know what to expect. The hotel is good and close to shopping mall. That would do for me. Tried their curries and kebab in the mall, well to be honest I’ve tried better curries and kebab in Northern Quarter, Manchester before but at least I get to know what their food is like.

I went mad with shopping in the mall, they have some nice designer shops. Twice I was mistaken as a salesperson, perhaps because I look a bit like a Philipino. Many Philipinos and Indians work here which explains why.

There’s no time to recover from jetlag. In the morning I went to the race track with my kitchen team, AMAZING. It’s in the middle of the dessert. We all went to the Lotus garage and just to let you know, I’ve ‘touched’ the Lotus car racing (well just the tyre as the car was covered up). None of the drivers and mechanics turned up yet, so the kitchen team managed to get everything set up for the restaurant. In fact, we were the first team to arrive and set up the restaurant. How efficient and everything looks marvellous.

Tomorrow will be a food shopping day and I can’t wait to go to their local market, see what their local market has got to offer. My mission is to find Lemon Grass. Hmmm, that would be interesting.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

TV shows

Hello All.
January 2010 has been amazing month for me and Ning. Lots going on. I went back to Malaysia for 2 weeks, initially to be with my mum who wasn't well. So it was good to spend time with her even just for a shortwhile. Then I went to Kuala Lumpur to appear on Malaysian TV9 and also Astro for the morning TV shows.

I was told to cook outside the studio (for Nasi Lemak Kopi O' slot) which you can imagine, the weatherwise. It was HOT! Well I can't complain as that's my country but before I left Manchester, it was heavily snowing so that was a big temperature change for me. I kept sweating a lot during filming. Good job they didn't show much of my 'melting' face. Ha Ha. So that was a good experience, in fact was a bit of practice for me before appearing in Market Kitchen (Goodfood Channel in the UK) in February.

For Astro Awani TV Channel, the producer told me to be at Chow Kit Market at 3am to do the filming. The market is like a wholesale market and sell all fresh herbs and vegetable. I saw huge bundle of lemon grass and ginger flowers, which I wish I can take them home to Manchester. Everything sold there was fresh. We were there for about couple of hours to do the filming. Then head back to the hotel and slept for two hours before appearing in Awani Pagi, morning talk show. Goodness me, the questions asked were sort of 'clever' ones. Ha Ha. I didn't expect that so I hope I did well answering those questions. You can watch all these on NingTV

Supposedly I should be on another TV show on the same day around lunchtime but I was told by the producer 'someone' with a bit of 'power' and 'attitude' don't like me to be on that show. So I honestly didn't expect I will create a 'threat' or 'competition' for someone in that short period. Well that is a bit of gossip for you. Somehow I managed to meet up with the 'producers/people behind the scenes' to talk about my proposal for Malaysian TV which can take Malaysia by storm. Too soon for me to reveal that, so keep reading this blog if you want to know the update. ;)

I have to thank 'The Magnet Girls' (Nori, Juliana and Lin) for all those TV appearances. They were the one who worked hard and organised my itinerary when I was there. I have also been appointed to be their official ambassador for 'The Fridge Magnets' products (woohoooo) which you can see more details on . Our aim is to get the fridges in every Malaysian households covered with the magnets. Now that is interesting.

Next post, more story about how I have been chosen as Official Malaysian Chef for Lotus Formula 1 Racing. This is BIG news for us at Ning (and the Magnet Girls).