PETALING JAYA: Low Wee Keong, 44, may have lost his eyesight, but that’s not stopping this Penangite from slicing onions and garlic like a real MasterChef on his YouTube channel, “Blind In The Kitchen”.
Low was previously an aircraft engineer for an airline company until an industrial accident left him permanently blind. He was only 30 then.
“I was halfway through my career when it happened,” recalls Low.
Depressed, he struggled to come to terms with the freak accident that robbed him of his sight, and descended down a dark, destructive path, shutting himself in his home, and shutting out all family and friends from his life.
It took him about five to seven years to muster the strength and courage to face the world again.
“I owe a lot to my friend from Australia. He supported me to come out of my shell and face the world. He was also the one who gave me the idea to start my own YouTube channel.”
Without a job now, Low fell back on his passion for cooking to give him some purpose in life.
He fondly remembers watching his mum pottering about the kitchen when he was kid, and being amazed at the delicious dishes she cooked up for the family.
“When I was studying in Australia, I had to learn how to cook to fend for myself. After I lost my eyesight, I was very worried, who would cook for me? I had to face the fact that my parents would not be around forever.”
Inspired by MasterChef USA season 3 winner Christine Ha, a blind chef, Low picked himself out of his depression and launched the “Blind In The Kitchen” cooking series on YouTube.
“Blind In The Kitchen” is pretty much a one-man show as Low insists on doing everything, from start to finish, himself.
He creates recipes, chops and dices his own ingredients, cooks and even edits the videos himself.
“I do rely on my friend to act as my cameraman. During the filming sessions, I gently step on his foot as a sign to stop filming. Another gentle nudge to his foot would mean to continue filming.”
Since he is blind, Low has to manually merge all the clips together, a painstaking process since some videos involve up to 50 clips for just one dish.
“I have a friend who is a lecturer at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College who complimented me on my editing skills. He said my editing work was better than some of his students’,” Low said, laughing.
His favourite recipe from his YouTube channel? He says it has got to be the delicious, piping hot bowl of claypot pomfret curry.
This home cook has also recently developed a love for baking.
“I took on a challenge from a friend. He said I may be already familiar with cooking methods but what about baking? So I decided to make German butter cookies, a Hari Raya favourite of mine. It was just my first try and it was a huge success.”
According to Low, he was so thrilled with the final product that he devoured the entire jar of cookies himself and suffered a sore throat the next day. But it was worth the pain.
Low explains that since he is unable to see, he relies on his intuition when cooking. In fact, he says, his dishes actually taste better now that it used to when he could see.
He has published 31 videos on his YouTube channel so far, sharing many mouthwatering Malaysian favourites such as stingray curry, chicken curry with yellow sticky rice, steamed yam cake with salted egg yolk and claypot chicken rice with salted fish.
When asked what two ingredients he cannot live without, he laughs and replies, “Ginger and garlic definitely! After all, what is Chinese cooking without these two ingredients?”
Despite his newfound fame, this home cook has one more dream he’d like to fulfil, a dream from his early years as an aircraft engineer.
“Perhaps after 100 episodes, I would very much like the chance to visit an aircraft and introduce every single nook and cranny, and equipment to the passengers on board,” he says, with a certain longing in his voice.
Till then, you can check out Low’s recipes on his YouTube channel “Blind In The Kitchen” here.