Community·OTTAWA PROFILES

Fusion of flavours in Kanata kitchen: 4 questions with Hamna Hack

CBC In The Kitchen introduces you to local chefs, at-home cooks and food lovers in our city to inspire the conversation as we ask what food and community mean to you.

New CBC Ottawa series inspires conversation about food and community

Hack says she wants her customers to feel like they are eating "home-cooked food." (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)
Growing up in Penang, Malaysia, Hamna Hack was surrounded by a fabulous fusion of flavours. 

She found her love of cooking at an early age by helping her mom in the kitchen, but Hack didn't start her culinary career until later in life. She studied to be an engineer, worked as a model and became a mom before starting her catering business. 
Illustration of Hamna Hack by Ginar Ogbit


When she came to Canada in 2000, she started watching cooking shows and learned more techniques, building off of the skills her mother had taught her. About six years ago, she decided to pursue her passion and start Hamna's Kitchen, making the Malaysian dishes she loved, but with a twist. 

As part of the new summer series CBC In The Kitchen, we met up with Hack at her buffet stand in Kanata's Shirin Market to talk about her approach to fusion cooking. 

Her answers have been edited for length and clarity. 

New CBC Ottawa series inspires conversation about food and community 1:53

How has your childhood in Malaysia inspired your style of cooking? 

Malaysians, we have a very diverse culture. We have Indian, Chinese, Malay, so the food we have pretty much consists of everything.

What is your philosophy when it comes to cooking?

For me, cooking has to be [with the] freshest ingredients I can get and it has to be from scratch...and the simpler the food the better, I believe in that. 

Hamna Hack studied to be an engineer, worked as a model and became a mom before starting her catering business. (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)

Why is it important for you to do a fusion of different styles of cooking? 

When you do fusion, a lot of people [are more] accepting. For example, let's say if I do butter chicken, originally they use something called jaggery, Indian-style brown sugar, but I use maple syrup. So, I find [with] the fusion of the flavour and everything, people are more accepting. They're familiar with the flavour. 

How do you want people to feel when they try your food? 

They should feel happy. They should feel they're eating home-cooked food. That's the most important thing for me. 

Hack's sambal shrimp with coconut rice (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)

CBC In The Kitchen will introduce you to local chefs, at-home cooks and food lovers in our city to inspire the conversation as we ask what food and community mean to you. 

 

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