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When Ili Sulaiman was five, she went on a trip to Hawaii with her parents. “There was this food court across the road from our hotel where we ate noodles in Chinese takeaway boxes. There was something about the packaging, sweet soy sauce noodles and eating it with my family that I remember so distinctively,” she reminisces. As a child, Ili has always been eager to explore different types of food and flavours. She also has a knack for remembering the small details right down to the flavours and packaging. It comes as no surprise then that her interest in cooking developed at a young age, driven by encouragement from her mother. “I love how cooking relaxes me and it’s even better when you cook something that people enjoy eating,” she shares. Describing herself as a true blue Malaysian girl, Ili has earned numerous accolades throughout her culinary career, including being crowned winner of Food Hero Asia 2015 for Asian Food Channel and Food Network Asia, serving Prince William and Kate Middleton at their wedding reception and starting up a social enterprise business called Agak-Agak with her partner Basira Yeusuff. “I would like to be the beacon of all Malaysian-food-related things be it for knowledge, shows, products and services. I also want to create change in the Malaysian policies that are associated with the service industry and uplift the profession within hospitality and F&B through training and development,” she says.