5 Questions with Chef Nora Haron
Executive Chef NORA HARON is breaking through glass ceilings and redefining the culinary industry with her modern approach to global cuisine that draws its influence, among others, from her Malay heritage. Born and raised in Singapore, Nora received hands on culinary training through helping in her family's catering business. But her love for food began while working in Lucca, Italy as a shoe designer. After learning how to cook from local Italian women, she returned to the United States. Nora graduated from San Francisco's Baking Institute.
Nora currently leads the Culinary Team at Red Bay Coffee in Oakland and is the Director of Culinary for San Francisco's 4P's Restaurant Group. Apart from recently showcasing her cuisine at the James Beard House in New York, she has also been featured on PBS and The Food Network. She has co-authored two cook books with Boba Guys and East Bay Cooks and is currently working on her own.
BFiO: Whose food in Oakland do you enjoy as much as your own?
CHEF NORA: I really enjoy a good fried chicken. Although I can't have it all the time, when I do it's always a treat. Xingones makes a well seasoned fried chicken that just saying it makes me salivate.
BFiO: What food do you think is overrated?
CHEF NORA: Chicken breasts. Dry. Get them thighs!
BFiO: What’s missing in the Oakland food scene?
CHEF NORA: More women chefs in South East Asian cuisine.
BFiO: At what local markets do you shop for ingredients/food?
CHEF NORA: Foods from the Nusantara (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia) are packed with spices. I get my spices from Oaktown Spice Shop.
Chinatown is another favorite spot. I just love walking through the shops finding things I never came looking for.
An of course the Friday Old Oakland Farmers Market which is rich in Asian produce.
BFiO: What does The New Normal look like for Oakland restaurants & food businesses in the age of COVID-19?
CHEF NORA: With the current restrictions on restaurants and the need to improve our economy, we might see the transformation from Restaurants to Ghost Kitchens as a solution to continue our delivery services.
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