Friends talking about food: Bonnie Freechyld
Bonnie Freechyld is a singer, songwriter of worldly origins - created in Australia, with British and Australian parents, her childhood was spent largely in the South-East Asian jungles of Borneo.
Ever evolving as a musical artist and performer, she has successfully collaborated with many respected artists in the UK, Australia and South East Asia. Her musical endeavours have taken her worldwide, performing not only in London where she currently calls home, but also in New York, Australia, Spain and across South East Asia. Bonnie Freechyld has gained quite a following in South-East Asia - having learned Malay as a child, she created a series of bi-lingual YouTube videos which went viral in just a few months. This led to international demand for live and personal musical appearance in the land in which she was raised. She also sporadically likes to add an element of cooking into her youtube and instagram world - with the hashtag #cheffreechyld
Bonnie is frequently invited to perform at Malaysia Kitchen food events in London, which she enjoys greatly!
What does food mean to me:
Food is home you know. Comfort. I like to call the different periods and locations of my life, my different 'lives' - I'd imagine that I've got a dish from each period that I've attached emotions from that time to, that I crave when I miss those times!
Food makes me happy. When I've had a bad day, all I want to do is eat some squid rings & banh tom from Green Papaya (Vietnamese) in Hackney, or some roti canai & ice milo from Roti King in Euston (Malay), or some truffle risotta from Jamie's (Italian)...the list goes on!
Everyone that knows me (and probably strangers) laugh at me because I am SO particular in restaurants, I always need to adjust the menu. It's not actually a diva thing (well other than that I am a diva by trade), it's just that I love food and I know what I do or don't want in it! I consistently have some of the same requests (no coriander, extra, extra, extra, extra sauce, like so that every tiny bite is covered in sauce, no coriander, no dill, no coriander - did I mention no coriander!?!)
I love food so much, authenticity and quality means so much to me that I've had to teach myself how to cook all my favourite foods from around the world! From my gourmet BLT sandwich (something I created after eating a particularly delicious one when I was about 15 passing through a tiny random Australian town), to my rendang (if you come to the event you may get to try some!), to my hungarian salad (sesame honey soy chicken sticks with pepper & avocado salad) to my Singapore chilli crab (my specialty! I have been known to throw 10 person chilli crab dinner parties and cook for hours in preparation), everything in between and of course to my most recent conquest - kuih talam - a delicious glutinous coconut and pandan flavoured traditional malay cake. YUM! Plus my cooking makes my boyfriend very happy!
When you think of home what do you think of:
This is such a complex question for me! Home means, and is, so many different things. Being a third culture kid is such a strange thing, for me personally, it means I truly feel that I don't fit in anywhere, yet I fit in everywhere, at the same time?!
I attach quite a lot of memories of home to food.
I was born in Australia and spent the earliest part of my childhood there, so there are elements that feel homely to me - the sound of heavy rain on an tin roof, the kookaburra's call early in the morning - the taste of a Four'n'Twenty meat pie or sausage roll! My Dad lives there now. He's always been a coffee connoisseur and a lover of camembert - so when I really miss him I drink lots of coffee, and eat some camembert!!
From 8 until 15 years old, home was in Brunei - it was very different from "little Bonnie's" Australia. The people, the language, the culture, the music, the food!!! Our weekly tuesday night dinner of Nasi Goreng Kampung (village fried rice) and Sate Ayam (chicken satays) from the local pasar malam (night market) (I would have had it every night if my parents' had permitted!) and our many holidays exploring parts of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia (and the rest of the world!) - mostly staying in dingy little hotel rooms and eating at cheapo little restaurants (if you can even call them restaurants?!) or street stalls.
My mother also passed away in Brunei - I think this left me with quite a deep connection to the area and so in some ways growing up in Asia defines me, or elements of me. Most of my memories of Mum and a happy childhood are there.
Then there's where I lay my head - London with it's wonderful music scene, cosmopolitan vibe and of course my all my lovely people that are here!
So yes, really, food and home are one and the same to me; Happiness. Memories. Love. People I Love.
Now I'm off to the gym 'cos I was missing my best friend in Spain, so I cooked a giant chorizo sausage in red wine, garlic and onion and ate it all by myself...oops...see what I'm saying!!