Chef Leah with a Big Heart

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What is it?

A collection of stories that share Leah Choy’s love towards her sister, Adele, who was born and diagnosed with brain damage. The book showcases Leah’s determination, inspiration and journey so far in the baking world as well as a few recipes and baking designs.

Who is it by?

Inspired by Leah Choy, winner of the Tunku Bainun Young Changemakers Award 2015, the book was put together by a team of people who turned Leah’s thoughts and ideas into reality. These include professional baker Michelle Chan, who helps build the cakes and cupcakes Leah came up with; writer Michelle Yoon, who guided Leah in putting her thoughts into words; photographer and food stylist Sammie Tan; layout by Carol Liew; and Low Ngai Yuen, Ee Lai Cheng and Abby Latif of WOMEN:girls, who lead the team. The book was published by MPH Group Publishing.

What is it about?

Chef Leah with a Big Heart follows the story of nine-year-old baker, Leah Choy. She was discovered through the Tunku Bainun Young Changemakers Award 2015, where her talent and unconditional love for her sister, Adele, catapulted her to fame. When she was four, Leah wanted to help her parents to raise funds for Adele’s therapy, and for her, the greatest way was to bake cupcakes and sell them online. Starting from learning how to bake from the Internet, Leah’s sheer determination, beautiful heart as well as talent continues to grow. This book expresses Leah’s creativity, uniqueness as well as imagination.

The book also shares some recipes and methods in producing beautifully decorated bakes that are divided into six different chapters with each chapter having a different theme, including the life cycle of animals, togetherness and various celebrations in Malaysia, surprise bakes as well as math and science.

What can children learn from it?

They will learn that almost nothing is impossible when they put their heart into something they love, just like Leah. After achieving her mission, Leah’s determination did not diminish. Instead, her heart and skills continue to grow. With the knowledge she acquired over the years, Leah continues to bake and sell them for the benefit of the needy. The positive attitude Leah has will inspire children of all ages, and even adults.

What did I like about it?

Firstly, I loved how beautiful the book is with its colourful and beautiful pages. Apart from that, Leah’s stories show her love for life and what’s important for her. Her stories can be an inspiration for young and not-so-young readers.

With its beautiful pictures, one cannot stop but admire each decorated cake highlighted in the book. I think the recipes are more suitable for intermediate and expert bakers, rather than beginners as each step is a bit complicated.

Although it can be daunting in the later chapters, readers can also get some easy basic recipes like moist chocolate cupcakes, lemon cupcakes, dairy-free banana chocolate cake, vanilla butter cake, chocolate ganache and buttercream frosting in Chapter 2.

Where to get it?

Chef Leah with a Big Heart can be found at most major bookstores including MPH and its online platform, MPHOnline.com. The price is RM39.90.

Should you get it?

Yes for those who love beautiful recipe books and books that inspire.