The Co-Founder of Lunch Actually needs no introduction as they are well-known in the offline and online dating space for matchmaking professionals and executives. Having with us the CEO and Co-Founder of Asia’s First and Largest Dating Agency, we are honored to have hosted Violet Lim, the brains behind Lunch Actually, at Patara Fine Thai Cuisine. Check out our interview to find out more about her job and her stories. Psst! Heads up on the tip on how to score some brownie points with Cupid and find the right one!
Tell us something that is less known about yourself. If it is something food-related, then the last meal I have cooked for my husband was about 15 years ago. That is why I always tell people my husband obviously did not marry me for my cooking skills. The first and only meal I have ever cooked for him, which he still remembers was soy sauce chicken. My husband said my soy sauce chicken cheated him but he actually enjoys cooking more than I do but we are both busy with work nowadays so we don’t usually cook. Also, we live with my in-laws so the helpers will manage all our meals.
As founder of Asia’s Leading Dating Agency, what is a typical day like for you at Lunch Actually? I think today could be a typical day. I started the day with a conference call with an associate and came here to meet you guys after. I am not as involved in the day-to-day operations nowadays so I mainly deal with one-on-one meetings with my team members. One of my roles as the CEO and founder is also to be the brand ambassador for the company and attend interviews.
What is the toughest and most fulfilling part about being Asia’s top matchmaker? I think one of the toughest parts about this job or industry is subjective and dynamic nature of the service we are providing. Client could be heading out for dates we arranged and when we get the feedback, it could be a surprising polar opposite from both parties. We would never be able to find out where or what went wrong and there is no guarantee. Inevitably, we get feedback or complaints and as the third party making the match, we are often blamed for the date not working out. In our earlier days, we would have clients calling the office to scold our consultants until they cry. I am sure it is the same in every industry but maybe more pertinent in ours because we are dealing with the matters of the heart. Tying in to the most fulfilling part of my job, I would say it is of course watching our clients finding happiness through us, getting married and having kids. I truly believe that there are not many jobs or professions in the world where you can contribute to someone else’s life happiness as much as we do.
Does having a common interest in food play a significant role in the compatibility of couples? Is there a specific trend or even cuisine that has a higher success rate? We match our clients based on compatibility of values. In our questionnaire, we do ask them about their food preferences, interests and hobbies, which countries would they like to travel to etc. Those commonalities are a good to have, but not necessarily a must have. Ultimately, I don’t think it will make or break a relationship. Both parties just got to reach the understanding that “We agree to disagree”. As for the second part of the question, we choose cuisines that the clients have common passion for. If both parties indicated that they like Thai food, then we would try to choose a Thai restaurant.
If you could master any dish, what would it be? I have been talking about it for years and I really want to learn this. I want to master my mum’s Luóhàn zhāi (Braised Mix Vegetables). It is a Chinese New Year dish with a lot of cabbages, fungus, and other ingredients like bean curds, abalones, mushrooms and fermented or dried ingredients. My mum is based in Kuala Lumpur and I see her once a month when my parents travel down to see the kids. So I really miss her cooking and this is one dish that I really craved for. I would want to learn to cook it so that it is something I can pass on to the next generation since I don’t cook.
Photo credit: Clubvivre
If you could match-make any 2 celebrities, who would they be and where would you recommend them to dine? Cheryl Wee and Vincent Ng. They looked compatible together, and I think I saw a previous interview with each of them where they talked about their ideal partner. She mentioned that she likes someone older who is mature and he likes someone who is determined and driven. Both of them are successful and they have their own business. They seem like a good match! If they were to have a date, I would recommend to try ClubVivre! It’s a new dining concept where they can get private chefs to cook at home.
Photo credit: NOX – Dine in The Dark
What is the most adventurous dish you have ever eaten and would actually recommend couples to try on their date? I had puffer fish, which is known to be poisonous (if not handled properly by the chef) when I was in Japan! It was delicious! I would recommend couples to try NOX – Dine in The Dark. It’s a fun date activity that is unique and different than the normal movie and dinner. It’s also great to ‘break the ice’ between the couples as they would have a lot of things to talk about as they share this new experience together!
Below are 6 situations, name the first dish or cuisine that comes to your mind
Girl’s Night Out – I think Rocku Yakiniku would be quite a suitable place because the girls would love to go on stage and sing with the live band.
Date night – My hubby and I usually go to this place called Shashlik. We really like it there as it is very nostalgic for us and we would always order our favorite dish, the Basked Alaska.
Dining with the in-laws – Patara would be suitable because the ambience there is pretty upscale and food can be shared over the table like how a family would dine together over dishes cooked by mum.
TGIFriday – Any place with drinks and alcohol. When I was working in a bank and our office was in Suntec area, we would go to KPO because it is nearby.
Lunch Actually Party – Definitely feature durians. I love durians. We don’t have a specific place to eat though. We would just head out to random places to get our fix.
Family feast – We would always go Ichiban Boshi. We hang out at United square a lot because we live very nearby so every week its either United Square or Novena Square.
If you could open any F&B business, what would you sell and what would you name it? I Personally, I would probably open something more casual like a dessert house or coffee and tea joint. Basically places for people to chill out to pass time like a café. Plus, my husband loves board games and has enough board games to fill up a few shelves, perhaps we would open a Board Game Café in the future. We will name it The BAP Café.
What is the biggest piece of dating advice you could give to somebody? I think the most important thing when it comes to dating is definitely the mindset. Some people just exited a very difficult or failed relationship. They are very hurt and might be unwilling to be vulnerable. If you are not willing to be vulnerable, it is very difficult to get into any relationship even though this match might be the right guy. Some ladies would say, “I only want to date a guy who is 1.75m.” Whether he is 1.75m or not, what is the correlation to him being a good husband or good father? Would he wake up in the middle of the night and help you look after the kid when he/she is sick? You have to start off looking for things that will give you the outcome in the end. Look at if he is filial, if he is kind hearted, does he look after the people around him etc. Those are the qualities we should think of, rather than the physical aspect.
That is a really refreshing insight! Then how can we connect with you and know more about Lunch Actually? You can add me on Facebook or visit our website at www.lunchactually.com.
Which dish at Patara did you enjoy the most and would recommend to everyone? I would recommend the Khao Niew Mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice)and also the Mor Kaeng Durian (Thai-Style Baked Durian Cake). Growing up, I was never the dessrt kind of person. Now that I am older, I am starting to really starting to develop a sweet tooth so for me, these 2 desserts are definitely the dishes for me.