Born and raised in Kuala Lampur, Tracy really began cooking while living in Australia as an exchange student. After moving to San Francisco, Tracy recreated and perfected the Malaysian food she missed from home, and she documented her culinary exploits on her Instagram feed @eatwithtracy. Curious diners who found her on social media were the impetus for hosting her first dinners, and the rest is history!
How did you find your way into the historically male-dominated culinary industry?
I downloaded Instagram in 2011, not knowing the app would become so popular today. There were around 25 followers by the time I moved from Melbourne to San Francisco in the spring of 2012. Then the stars aligned, numbers grew, and delicious friendships flourished. Posts of food that Insta-friends and I ate and cooked together resulted in inquiries from curious strangers to offer a tasting. So I opened up my home to carefully vetted Insta-foodies and hosted intimate food parties. By my second summer in San Francisco, Feastly launched in the Bay Area and invited me to join them in the movement to host and feed strangers in an unconventional format. That was summer-fall 2013.
Which ladies serve up culinary inspiration in your life?
My mother: She was a very busy businesswoman who still managed to come home from a long day and cook at least a three-course dinner for six every night of the week. She believed that a home cooked dinner together is the glue that keeps the family close.
Poh Ling Yeow: I believe she played a major role in popularizing Malaysian food in Australia when she became one of the top three finalists in the first season of Master Chef Australia 2009. I clearly remember that not many Australians knew about Malaysian food when I first moved to there in 2005 and suddenly it was everywhere after Poh introduced the nation to the cuisine.
What advice do you have for other women trying to build culinary careers?
Manage your time and and stay organized. It’s not that hard if you already cook kick-ass meals at home.