Meet Violet, the Chef

Born a Singapore Nyonya in 1949, Violet Oon is the grande dame of Singaporean cooking and is widely considered to be an authority on Asian cuisine, specialising in Nyonya food. Her reputation as a chef and food connoisseur spans the international arena and she often represents Singapore as a food ambassador abroad.

Violet’s Career in Food

Violet began her career in journalism in 1971 as a reporter for music and the arts and in 1974, she became The New Nation’s food critic. Driven by her passion for sharing good food, Violet started her own culinary magazine called The Food Paper in 1987. That passion would later lead her into diverse adventures; from the launch and operation of her own food outlet in Takashimaya in the 1990s, to the role of food researcher for the National Heritage Board.

Having successfully carved a niche out for herself, Violet has served as an F&B consultant in key national events such as the 2006 IMF World Bank Conference and the 2009 APEC Meeting in Singapore. She is also lauded as a speaker and has presented talks at the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ annual conference in Baltimore, USA. Violet has also been appointed Chef de Mission, leading Singapore’s team of chefs at the World of Flavors Conference and Festival (2004, 2007 & 2009), held by the Culinary Institute of America.

Books & TV Appearances

Always generous with her knowledge and experience, Violet has written three cookbooks of her own: Peranakan Cooking, Violet Oon Cooks and A Singapore Family Cookbook, with a fourth book in the works. She has also co-authored the Curry Cookbook from German publishing house, Teubner.

In addition to spreading her passion for Nyonya cuisine in person and on paper, Violet has enthralled radio listeners and charmed television audiences in TV programmes filmed and aired by the BBC, CNN, The Food Network and Singapore’s Channel 5.

Violet, hosting her very own television cooking program in the 1980s.

Violet at Home

Violet’s culinary career, talent and passion for food has taken her far and wide. Still, her heart belongs unabashedly to Singapore. After all, Singapore is where a young Violet Oon picked up her interest in cooking and where her career in food began.

It’s also where Violet’s two children, Su-lyn and Yiming, continue to work with her to preserve and share their family’s treasured gastronomic legacy with others through the establishment of Violet Oon Singapore, the restaurant.

Together, the trio are constantly looking for exciting ideas, tirelessly working to inspire one another to greater heights of culinary creativity. They eat everything, everywhere - at home or abroad - in a lifelong celebration of food. It’s truly a family affair!

When she’s not up and about looking for inspiration, Violet is living out her lifelong dream of entertaining and feeding family, friends and neighbours, while sharing her knowledge and expertise, all from the comfort and warmth of her own “kitchen”.