Chef De Cuisine, Samplings On The Fourteenth Restaurant Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Born in Seremban in 1969, Valmurugan Subramanian, affectionately known as Chef Val, later moved to Segamat, Johor as a young boy of eight. Upon completing his secondary education, he immediately found himself drawn to the food and beverage industry where he then found his calling to venture into the culinary world.
From early beginnings as an apprentice, Chef Val’s talent and expertise soon gave him a foothold in the industry as he steadily rose to become Chef De Cuisine in an international chain hotel and a specialised dining outlet in Kuala Lumpur. Having worked with many chefs throughout his years, Val slowly mastered the art of Western cuisine specialising in Swiss and French techniques. “I learnt to appreciate Swiss food culture and the refinement of the French style of cooking,” states Val. According to Val, Chef Jochen Kern, the German culinary expert with more than 40 years of experience in the industry is one of his biggest culinary idols, having worked with him for seven years.
The self-learned Val then joined Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur’s fine dine restaurant Samplings on the Fourteenth in 2010 as Chef De Cuisine. Since then, Val has significantly transitioned the new fine dining outlet as a major contender on the local culinary map for its food and service - while establishing a name for himself with his expertise combined with his buoyant personality and charm.
The award-winning Chef Val’s approach to delivering stunning dishes is to always highlight the main ingredient. Apparent in all his dishes and even more prominent in his specialty meat dishes like his trademark Braised Australian Wagyu Beef and Roasted Smoked Duck which is infamous among local culinary enthusiasts, Chef Val’s emphasis on the core element of each dish, delivers a plate of perfection every time. Having also been mentored and trained by German Chef Wolf Gang Kiesal, Chef Val’s practice of only allowing the highest quality cuisine to leave his kitchen is a splitting image of the industry heavyweight’s. “Cooking is quite simple – all you need are a few quality ingredients and attention to detail to create a master dish,” says the approachable Chef Val.
Among his favourite ingredients are truffle oil for its aromatic punch and lobster butter which he says gives his sauces a boost in taste and texture. Believing that execution is fundamental to any dish – be it a simple one – Val’s philosophy is to ensure the quality of his dishes are always consistent. The affable chef with 24 years’ experience under his toque states that he finds inspiration from everything around him as he keenly experiments with different ideas and techniques to put on the plate.
Val also finds joy in making people happy with his cooking mastery - “My passion for cooking lies in simply making people happy. This inspires me to continuously learn new methods of delivering the best,” he states. With a natural flair for Classic Western cuisine, he has won numerous accolades like Silver in the Hot Cooking Category for the Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) Culinary Challenge 2012, competing against other internationally prominent chefs and the Food and Hotel Malaysia (FHM) Culinary Challenge 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 in the Hot Cooking category to name a few.
With Chef Val at the helm, Samplings On The Fourteenth Restaurant has received Awards of Excellence by the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) for ‘Most Outstanding Canapés of the Festival’ and ‘Most Creative Dining Experience’ in 2011 for the Festival Diners’ Choice Category; ‘Most Outstanding Main Course of the Festival’ for his slow-cooked Wagyu Beef Cheek dish, ‘Most Popular Restaurant’ for Taste MIGF and ‘Most Outstanding Soup of the Festival’ in 2012; ‘Most Outstanding Wine Pairing of the Festival’ in 2013; ‘Most Outstanding Starter – Cold’ for his Rock Lobster Salad dish, ‘Most Outstanding Starter – Warm’ for his Smoked Duck Breast with Fricassee of Mushrooms and Vanilla Emulsion dish, while the man himself bagged ‘Chef Congeniality of the Festival’ in 2014.