Indonesian celebrity chef, restaurateur and media personality Farah Quinn looks back on 2017 and tells NOW! Jakarta what she is planning in the upcoming year.

Photo courtesy of Farah Quinn

As we near the end of 2017 maybe you can tell us what your year has been like? What were the highlights… and the challenges?
2017 has been a very busy year for me that went by very fast because I have been traveling so much. 

My business ‘Queen Apple’ started, which was very exciting and probably my highlight of the year. Other exciting projects included collaborations with several other new brands such as Mercedes Benz, Zumba and Smart Coffee. One challenge ahead is setting up my own Chips brand since there is a delay in obtaining the permits. 

On a more personal note, my son has begun his studies in the USA – which has been very difficult for me.

It’s December already. What are your plans for Christmas and New Year’s?
I go to the USA every Christmas. This year, with my son being there, it will be even more special as I can spend time with him during the festive season, including New Year’s Eve.

I would like to take my son skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming because we both need some more skiing lessons. That way we will both be ready to take on skiing in Japan in the spring.

What are your special memories of Christmas in years past?
My most special memory of Christmas in the past is the first time I ever celebrated it. Since I was brought up as Muslim, we never celebrated Christmas at home. When I became a foreign exchange student at the age of 16, I experienced the whole American family Christmas celebrations for the very first time. To me that was very special. I helped preparing the Christmas decorations, and I also received all these wonderful gifts. Santa even came into the house – it was just really fantastic. 

Most of us tend to put on some weight this time of the year, how do you manage to stay so slim?
The secret is to remain active. Even though I eat quite a lot, I keep active and engage in workout, mainly running and a lot of Zumba. I must say that Zumba has become my new addiction now because it’s a lot of fun! It is much better than just working out at the gym because you almost don’t feel it. When you do Zumba, you are dancing away and look really cool doing it. You also burn a lot of calories and at the same time truly enjoy the workout. That’s what I love most about it.

What would you most like to get for Christmas, or to give away as a gift?
I think it doesn’t really matter because in the end, it’s the thought that counts, right? Therefore, you always appreciate what people give to you because you are touched by the mere gesture. 

Since I am a very busy person, sometimes it is really difficult for me to buy Christmas gifts because of course I want them to be special and personal, so I try to figure out what this particular person likes and enjoys, but often, I simply don’t  have that much time at hand. 

But there is a solution to this problem as well. Usually, I pick up little things when I am traveling, and by the end of the year, I go through these souvenirs and gifts and allocate them to my friends or family members. That way, I can avoid stressful Christmas shopping at the end of the year, while at the same time the presents that I brought home from my travels are still unique and special.

Tell us about your plans for next year. Are you still focused on food and cooking, or are you branching out?
I think both food and cooking will always be a big part of my life as I truly enjoy what I am doing. Having said that, I do love traveling so it’s a matter of combining all of my different passions. Next year, I would like to focus more on the business side. We are working on getting a new reality show off the ground as well as my own kitchen ware signature brand.

So, new products and my business are the things that I need to focus on next year. And be happy! Lots of boyfriends… no, I’m just kidding, there will be no boyfriend next year [laughs].

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Alistair Speirs

Alistair Speirs

Alistair has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for 25 years. He started NOW! Magazines as the region’s preferred community magazine.