Diana appreciated and loved food growing up in Malaysia, but it was when she moved to Australia at the age of 19 that her passion grew. Falling in love with the produce of her local Melbourne food markets, Diana says she never knew food could look so beautiful, and fresh, organic, sustainable food so readily available.
It’s that love of food she hopes to parlay into her dream of opening a fresh and casual dining restaurant, inspired by Sweetgreen and Dig Inn, venues she found and fell in love with while travelling through New York City. Diana says she loves the fresh approach to food, favoured by chefs Dan Hunter and Ben Shewry who she describes as her food idols, alongside Yotam Ottolenghi, Shane Delia and Benjamin Cooper.
The youngest of three children, Diana grew up in Johor Bahru in Malaysia with her parents who cooked traditional home meals, and also experimented with other cuisines. Always keen to lend a hand in the kitchen, Diana moved to Kuala Lumpur at 17 to do complete her Cambridge A levels, before making the move to Melbourne to study Commerce at Deakin University. She now works for Deloitte as a senior analyst, a role she’s been in for nearly 5 years.
Diana lives in Melbourne’s south with her partner Tim, and outside of cooking together, she loves to run, practice yoga and travel, where she can combine her love of trying new experiences with new cuisines.
Diana loves how food brings people together, and sees this as a big part of what she wants to do with her life. Following her MasterChef experience, she hopes to gain experience in a commercial kitchen while continuing to cater for friend’s birthday and engagement parties.