Interview With The Chefs Of Guinness Flavour By Fire: Chef Sherson Lian & Chef Johnny Fua Of Kitchen Mafia


The coolest & the hottest chefs in town – Chef Sherson Lian & Chef Johnny Fua of Kitchen Mafia

Chefs Sherson Lian & Johnny Fua of Kitchen Mafia actually require no introduction as they are such well known faces in the culinary scene in Malaysia. I was an avid fan of Great Dinners Of The World on AFC years ago in which the two renowned chefs would cook up a storm in different locations around Europe. For me, it was a cooking show with a difference, not the usual type of cooking show where the chef just whips up a dish in the studio kitchen. In one episode, they’d be in Scotland and the next in France. It kept me riveted as I watched each episode like a devotee. For my (then) much younger self, Sherson Lian & Johnny Fua were the coolest chefs Malaysia has ever produced and I think they still are. I would rather watch them in action than chefs from different countries. We should take pride that Malaysia has chefs of their calibre and talent. This dynamic duo are certainly more than worthy of the moniker “celebrity chefs”. It was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to interview both chefs recently at Guinness Flavour By Fire @ Sentul Depot. One can describe them as being the rock stars of Malaysia’s culinary industry. At Guinness Flavour By Fire, Kitchen Mafia offered 6 dishes including Guinness Sticky Lamb Ribs & 2 desserts.

“We are delighted to receive an incredible response to our unique festival, which takes the taste experience beyond the ordinary. Guinness has a rich, distinctive flavour that is a favourite among chefs abd drinkers alike, and when combined with the transformative power of fire, it creates a truly unforgettable experience. Guinness is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring our brand values of power, goodness and communion to life in an engaging and immersive way. Our festival is the perfect occasion for people to come together for an authentic Guinness experience and create unforgettable memories,” said Shaun Lim, Marketing Manager – Wheat Beer, Stout & Diageo Brands at HEINEKEN Malaysia Berhad.

What are some of the dishes offered by Kitchen Mafia at this year’s Guinness Flavour By Fire?

We have 6 in total including grilled salmon, lamb. chicken & vegetables.

What’s the collaboration with Guinness like?

Guinness presents an opportunity for us to do something completely different.

How do you use Guinness in the dishes?

Different dishes are infused with Guinness differently. We glaze and chargrill the lamb. For the chicken, it’s a little different as we use a mop sauce. Several layers of mop sauce are applied every 30 minutes and has a cooking time of 1-2 hours.

How are the lamb and chicken cooked?

The lamb is smoked, grilled in a smoker for 2-3 hours. Jerked chicken is cooked in a smoker rather than a grill.

And for the vegetables?

Pumpkin and charred broccoli sits on a grill and drizzled with dressing.

Juniper and the inimitable chefs of Kitchen Mafia
L to R – Chef Johnny of Kitchen Mafia, Chef Aaron of Yat Sing Smokehouse, Chef Sherson of Kitchen Mafia, Juniper of Juniper’s Journal, Kenny Phang of Defy Media Photo source: Kenny Phang

How is the cooking process for Guinness Flavour By Fire different from previous years?

We’re using the smoker more compared to previous festivals.

What desserts do you offer at this year’s festival?

We have 2 desserts including a flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream in Guinness reduction and a dash of sea salt.

What is your prep time like for this festival?

We have a 3am prep time and start cooking at 4am.

Guinness Flavour By Fire will be at Fort Cornwallis, Penang on 2-3 September 2023.