Michele Lean: The True Food Lover and Traveler

Posted on Mar 9 2015 - 11:09am by Shem MD

After the first season of Food Hero, her name keeps rising to popularity. Yes, she is Michele Lean, one of the winners of the program. She is known for her passion in culinary world. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on September 1st of 1982, Lean spent most of her early life in the Capital City of Malaysia, Borneo, Melbourne, and Hong Kong. It is even difficult for her to answer the question, “We are you from?” since she considers them all her homes.

Michele Lean

Michele Lean

Michele Lean is a passionate traveler, as she has traveled to different parts of the world, such as Indonesia, China, Canada, and Australia. She loves beach and marine life very much. For this hobby, she calls herself a beach girl, as she is always amazed with the beauty of sea, sand, and sun. The woman with full name Michele Yi Wen Samantha Lean is also fond of technology and architecture and crazy about cartoon characters, such as Stewie and Daria from Happy Tree Friends and Family Guy.

Michele Lean’s Education

As she has traveled and breathed in different cities for extended period, Michele Leans also studied in different countries. She studied as Island School Hong Kong, where her passion for television developed, thanks to CNN Hong Kong. In Malaysia, she studied at Garden International School. In her hometown, her talent in the world of selling consumerism was ignited. In Malaysia, she took internship programs at Herald Sun online department, CNN International Asia Pacific, and the Sun newspaper.

In Melbourne, Australia, she studied at University of Melbourne, from which she graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communications in 2007. She had part time career in acting and modeling in this city. There, her camera experience begun and her knowledge of print and online media developed after working as editor-in-chief for Veeza magazine. Her acting skills were polished in New York Film Academy. In other words, Michele Lean is a perfect blend of different cultures and skills.

Professional Career

In 2007, she moved to China, where her professional career in television began to rise. In the same year, she was recruited by China Central Television for English-based CCTV-9, in which, she hosted an English language program in traveling, called Travelogue. Later, she hosted a music variety show called Centre Stage. With Travelogue, she gained much experience and knowledge about Chinese cultures, from the lives of Chinese ethnic minorities to the nightlife in the busy city of Beijing.

Michele Lean on TV

Michele Lean

Her broadcasting experience began when her Travelogue’s program was filmed in Xinjiang, China. The program, called Ethnic Odyssey, provided her with great opportunities to try the life of ethnic minorities. She lived with nomadic Kazakh in the mountains of Altay. She rode horse as the main transportation facility from one location to another. But overall, she loves the diversity, color, breathtaking scenery, music, and archeological sites in Xinjiang. Her adventurous experiences with Travelogue have been released on DVD version in China.

From the moment on, she appeared in different TV programs in different countries, such as Malaysia and Australia. She even hosted a special program, which was aired throughout Beijing Olympics in 2008. In 2011, she hosted Outlook English, a two-episode series in CCTV-10, Beijing. Then, since became a guest-judging panel of Star of Outlook 2011 for the same channel. In Malaysia, she appeared in Icon Magazine – a luxury and society publication – from 2009 to 2010.

Insights about Foods and Cultures

Her mother and grandmother are very good cooks. They love experimenting with different ingredients That is why Michele Lean loves culinary world. She was always involved in the process of cooking and serving foods during her childhood. Despite a little girl, she was taught how to make sophisticated dishes, omelet (particularly for her father, who loves egg very much), cereal, juice, and sandwiches. Her love for cooking developed formally, when she received a culinary scholarship – Culinary Trust 2012-2013 – offered by Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, Canada.

During her travel around the world, Michele Lean has tried different types of foods, whether Asian and Western. She notices how geography, history, and culture of a country influence the taste, particularly in the usage of spices. For her, the best way to experience a true culture of a place or a country is by eating the local foods. She believes that foods give us a universal understanding of a country’s culture, where language is not a barrier anymore. Without words, you can learn a country’s culture through foods.

For the 32-year-old TV presenter, a tasty food represents a balance between textures, use of spices, and flavor. This is only served by a cook, who cares and loves the food she/he serves. She finds that each country she has visited has some best foods, which cannot be found in any other countries. In Indonesia, she loves kek lapis, or layered cake, but she also found great foods in Malaysia, China, and Australia.

Vision of Culinary Industry

Michele Lean loves the culinary industry very much, as she has been forged by some culinary TV programs, which she hosted. After Travelogue, she hosted Foods Wars, where she took the contestants to a journey in cooking. As she loves food concepts, she may some day pursue a plan to open a restaurant as a business. In addition, she would like to challenge the misconceptions related to foods. Her principle is try every thing even though it is not physically appealing. “You will never know how it tastes before you try it.”

She has pursued her career in travel and food, as they are her greatest passions. That is why Lean has not had a plan to pursue another business in different sector. Even though she may someday have a different business, I should have something to do with culinary world and travel.

Finally, for those who are interested in culinary world or looking forward to being a chef, Lean advises you to try everything as long as you are not allergic to it. In addition, besides the talent, learning from the right source is important, whether it is a mentor, a restaurant, or a formal school.

Food Wars Asia
Premieres on Food Network, Tuesday, 7 April 2015 at 8.00pm (7.00PM JKT/TH)
Food Hero Michele Lean, travel lover and passionate about all things food, sets out to find the most celebrated dishes in Singapore and Malaysia, food that defines destinations and create local rivalries spanning generations. From Singapore’s famous Fishball Noodles to Malaysia’s Nasi Lemak, Food Wars Asia pits nation’s most famous culinary rivals against one another for a final showdown, where a blind taste test will settle the debate once and for all on who makes the best dish in town.

Want to participate Food War TV Show?

Know two great places in your country that’s serving the same dish and you can’t decide who’s best? Leave your comments on www.facebook.com/foodnetworkasia!

Visit www.foodnetworkasia.com for more information.

Shem MD
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About the Author

Shem MD is a young doctor who really has a passion for travel and food. He started his hobby of writing about travel and food when he graduated from medical school and became the founder of Travelfore.com. Through a blog created by him, he aspires to gather stories from people all over the world about their experiences in travel and food. He also was a true lover of the art of magic, musical instruments, and mind-blowing movies. And most importantly he is a big fan of Liverpool Football Club. The words often out of him were "Nomad is my middle name !" Shem MD also get Internet Marketing Fundamentals Practitioner Certification, Social Media Practitioner Certification, Content Marketing Practitioner Certification, Display Advertising Practitioner Certification from Marketmotive.com and a member of OMCP Organization. Shem MD also get Hootsuite Certified Professional and a Hootsuite Media Inc. Community Ambassador for Asia Pacific (ID) (Volunteer) Passionate in Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing, and Social Media. Specialties: Entrepreneurship, Business Building, Creative Strategy, Social Media Strategist, Travel and Food Blogging, General Medical Practitioner, Skin Care Business, Magic Props, and Concept Consultant.