On the Couch with Khanh Ong

Khanh-Ong-courtesy-of-Pan-Macmillan-AustraliaWho is Khanh Ong?
I am Khanh Ong. A cook.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would be travelling the world, writing about whatever I want, and probably living in hostels.

Who inspires you and why?
My mother is my biggest inspiration. She’s gone through so much and given up so much for my sister and I to have the opportunities we have today.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Share my experiences, my stories, my recipes and in turn learn from as much as I can. Walk when I don’t need to drive, use less power, give more to the less fortunate, say my please and thank you’s. Be more patient, get into politics, read more and do more research… I really need to do all of this.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Somewhere I’ve never been, where the best food is usually a random find when I’m lost and looking for direction. Somewhere really hot or really cold, I’m zero to 100 real quick kinda man. Somewhere where the people, architecture, culture and lifestyle can teach me. Somewhere that makes me want to argue with my travel buddy because we are both so passionate about seeing different things. That’s exciting, that’s where I want to go.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
First stop would be dinner at mine, so we can laugh, drink, eat and really catch up until the wee hours of the morning. Next night would be my restaurant, The George on Collins, so we can do all of that again except I’m stressed the whole time. We would probs be hungover now, so I’ll take my friend to brunch, Melbourne is amazing for brunch so take your pick. After that would snooze on the couch, then a lap of the tan to make us feel better, followed by dinner at my favourite vegan, Smith and Daughters or if they want something more chilled than Small print pizza where they bring the pizza to the dog park across the road. Is it weird, it’s always food?

What are you currently reading?
Firstly my book A Gay Guys Guide to Life, Love, Food, because sometimes I’m a borderline narcissist and I also need to refer to my own recipes when cooking… Ali Wong’s Dear Girls – this woman is incredibly funny. I shouldn’t relate to any of this, there’s a lot about childbirth and motherhood, but I can’t help thinking that I do in a weird way.

What are you currently listening to?
Shameless podcast because they teach me so much in such an approachable voice. Seize the Yay podcast has some of the best “in conversations” I’ve ever listened to!

Happiness is?
Everywhere, open your mind and let yourself feel. When I’m sad I cry because it makes laughing feel that much better. When I’m angry I let myself be angry because it makes me appreciate when everything works out. Happiness is trusting the process and going with the flow. I sound so millennial but whatever.

What does the future hold for you?
The future for me is uncertain, especially with 2020. I’ve got my Youtube channel, My restaurant The George on Collins, You are loved. brand, My cookbook A Gay Guys Guide to Life, Love, Food and an app coming out – so I feel like I’m busy but anything could happen. I guess follow me at @khanhong and find out where the journey goes.

Khanh’s latest book, A Gay Guy’s Guide To Life Love Food is published by Pan Macmillan Australia and available from all leading book sellers including Dymocks.

Image: Khanh Ong – photo by Lauren Bamford