Written for Daily Hive by Justin Cheung, chef-owner of Potluck Hawker Eatery in Vancouver and dad to two
The phrase goes “mama knows best,” which is why I decided to name one of our most popular items at Potluck after my mom – Mama Cheung’s Laksa. There is nothing more important than the care a mother has for their child. It defines who we are and more importantly, who we strive to become. When it comes to food, it is no different. A comforting bowl of laksa is intended to offer the same type of nourishment to every guest at Potluck.
The other important woman in my life and also love of my life, Rachel, gave birth to my two children and has been the strongest anchor to our young family as well as the Potluck family. During the hardest times, while opening a restaurant during this pandemic, she has gracefully taught me how to let go and how to love my family first.
During this challenging time, I’ve come to understand how fast time passes by and count myself lucky to see my children grow up. I appreciate all the intricacies of being a parent, however, it will never replicate the way Rachel nurtures and teaches – she makes it look so easy! And, she is amazing at what she does. She’s the unsung hero and MVP of the house.
I hope to bring the same care and love to the restaurant in the form of hospitality.
Here are 5 ways you can show your appreciation to the women in your life, from a chef.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in being married for over 10 years is it may not be what you think you’re doing to make her happy, but show your appreciation by doing the hard work. Show her you care by taking on some of the tasks she does everyday seamlessly, not because she enjoys doing it but because it needs to get done – from cleaning the toilets, taking out the garbage to folding laundry and making the kids meals.
As a restaurant chef, we are not just cooks but also mentors, detectives, teachers and counsellors. However, your partner is also doing this too at home and professionally at work. While we may want to tell her all about our trials and tribulations, be sure to also ask her how her day was, and how you can make it better.
While we are all stuck indoors, we still need to relax. After the kids go to bed, surprise her with a special drink – be it a cocktail, wine, tea or zero-proof beverage. She’ll appreciate the gesture after your evening shift, and you’re finally able to spend some down time and watch some Netflix together.
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She often cooks for herself, for the kids, for their lunches the next day. You come home hungry after a 15 hour shift and there is food on the table ready for you. Do the cooking to give her a day off whenever possible. This one may come the most natural to you, but surprisingly it rarely happens, especially for a chef and restaurant owner. “It must be nice to be married to a Chef, because you must eat well” is such a false statement because it’s actually quite the opposite.
The gift of time
On Mother’s Day, give her some me-time, which is even more rare and important during the pandemic. Start the day with her favourite breakfast, made by you and the kids (pancakes and spam musubis are our go-to), and then organize a special spa-at-home experience or simply letting her know she has the day to-herself.
Mother’s Day is just one day of the year, but we can all show our love and appreciation by doing the little things on a daily basis.