Norman Musa

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Norman bin Musa (born 20 November 1974) is a Malaysian chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur, based in London, United Kingdom. Born in Butterworth, Penang in Malaysia, he is the co-founder and creator of Ning restaurant in Manchester, and owner and Chef Patron of Nasi Dagang restaurant in Malaysia.

Chef Norman Musa

Life, career & awards [1][edit]

Norman is a Malaysian Malay. He was raised by his parents in a kampung called Sungai Nyior in Butterworth. Following his secondary education, he gained a scholarship to study quantity surveying at the University of Portsmouth from 1994. After graduation in 1997, his first job as a quantity surveyor was in Bournemouth, Southern England before relocating to London in 1999. In 2003 he moved to Manchester, where he continued to practice as a quantity surveyor.

In 2006, he planned, designed and developed a restaurant with his then partner. He took a temporary break from his career in quantity surveying to do so. The restaurant, called Ning and located in the Northern Quarter, opened for trading in December 2006, focusing on Malaysian cuisine and Thai cuisine. Norman acted as Head Chef at the restaurant, even when in 2007 he returned to his day job as a quantity surveyor. As the restaurant business took off, he eventually left his career in quantity surveying in 2009 to work full-time at Ning.

In 2012, Norman opened a second Ning restaurant in York, England. However, he closed this in January 2014 to concentrate on other ventures.[2]

On 25 November 2012, was awarded Young Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year at the Asian Curry Awards in Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. His restaurant in Manchester received 'Best Malaysian Restaurant' award at the same event.

On 6 December 2012 received the Hospitality Guild's Young Hall of Fame award[3] at a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons. He is the first Malaysian to receive such an accolade.

On 17 November 2013, Norman was awarded runner-up in the Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year at the Asian Curry Awards 2013.[4] His Ning restaurant in York, now closed, was highly commended at the same event.

In 2014, he opened his first premises in Malaysia - Chef Norman Musa's Studio Kulinari - in Banting, Malaysia.

In November 2014, he was announced as Food Ambassdor for Kuala Lumpur, with a view to promoting the city as a culinary destination to European tourism markets.

In early 2016, his latest and most ambitious book yet, 'Amazing Malaysian: Recipes for Vibrant Malaysian Home Cooking', was published by Square Peg, part of the Penguin Random House group. The 252-page hardback edition includes a Foreword by chef Ken Hom.

Biography & key events[edit]

Norman is a self-taught chef who is heavily influenced by the cooking and recipes of his late mother. During his time as a student, he often relied on her advice and mentoring by telephone.[1]

Prior to establishing Ning restaurant in 2006, his multiple talents extended to performing traditional South East Asian dance. On one occasion he performed for Queen Elizabeth II and other Heads of Commonwealth States at Westminster Abbey.[5]

In 2007 he established a cookery school at his restaurant, hosting regular classes in Malaysian cooking for the general public.[5]

In June 2009 he made his first live television appearance on Malaysian television, interviewed about his life, career and restaurant on the breakfast show Malaysia Hari Ini on TV3. He has since appeared on several other programmes on Astro Awani, NTV7 and TV9.

During summer 2009 he wrote a book on Malaysian cuisine which was designed to introduce his native food to Westerners. The book, Malaysian Food, was self-published in the United Kingdom by his company in October 2009. An updated edition specially designed for the Malaysian market was published in April 2010.

In 2009 Norman was shortlisted for the Manchester Chef of the Year Award at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. His restaurant Ning was also shortlisted for Manchester Restaurant of the Year.

In February 2010 he made his first appearance on British television, demonstrating his Nyonya Lime Curry recipe to Rachel Allen on the show Market Kitchen on the Good Food Channel.

From March 2010 to August 2010, Musa was chef to the Lotus Racing Formula One team, touring with them to the Grand Prix motor races around the world.

In May 2010, he took part in filming in Kuala Lumpur for the 2011 series of Gordon's Great Escape with Gordon Ramsay.

In June 2010, he made his debut at the popular Taste of London event in Regent's Park where he demonstrated recipes in the cooking theatre of the Malaysia Kitchen pavilion.

During Autumn 2010, he also undertook live cooking demonstrations at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and North West Food Lovers Festival, and led promotions for Malaysia Kitchen at Selfridges and Waitrose.

In November 2010, he was announced as one of Malaysia's 'Top 40 Under 40' by Prestige Asia magazine.[6]

In April 2011, he was featured in "Unreserved" lifestyle supplement of The Malaysian Reserve newspaper.

During Spring and Summer 2011, he toured food festivals in the UK & Ireland, including Tewkesbury, Chester, Dublin and Cardiff.

On 27 July 2011, the first episode of 13-part cooking show A la Carte hosted by Chef Norman Musa, aired on NTV7 in Malaysia, marking his debut TV series.[7]

During Autumn 2011, he took his cookery classes on tour to Eden Project Cornwall, Mansion House Cardiff and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh,[8] toured five UK cities with the Malaysia Kitchen street food truck and appeared at Taste of Christmas Ireland and BBC Good Food Show.

In November 2011, he featured on MasterChef Malaysia's Celebrity Chef Challenge and shared one of his own signature dishes.[9]

In February 2012, he was one of four shortlisted for Outstanding Achievement at the inaugural Malaysia Achievement Awards in the Agriculture, Food & Beverage category.[10]

On 6 April 2012, Chef Norman was keynote chef at a 'Malaysian Spice Kitchen' event at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh sponsored by Tourism Malaysia as part of Scotland's first science and food festival, with James Wong (ethnobotanist).[11]

On 1 May 2012, following a trial weekend, Norman opened his second Ning restaurant in York, in collaboration with a local Malaysian Chinese restaurateur who had come across him and his efforts to promote Malaysian cuisine on Facebook.[12] In January 2014, the former restaurateur took back control, rebranding the restaurant under another name.[2]

During summer and autumn 2012, he featured at numerous food festivals around the UK and Ireland including Cardiff, Dublin, Manchester, Liverpool, Abergavenny, Ludlow, Bolton, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Cockermouth, Newport and York. He was also a feature chef at Westfield Stratford demonstration kitchen during the London 2012 Olympics.

Chef Norman launched a limited edition range of his own branded spiced chocolate in October 2012.

On 1 November 2012, featured on MasterChef Malaysia for a second time, conducting a masterclass for the final 12 contestants.

From March 2013, he started to run a regular supper club in London, receiving several positive reviews from the local press.[13]

In April 2013, he launched what was reputed to be the UK's first Malaysian High Tea at the then York branch of his Ning restaurants.[14]

During summer and autumn 2013, he repeated his regular tour of food festivals around the UK, debuting at Malton, Hampton Court Palace, Bradford, Barrow on Furness and Battersea Park. He also ran two debut master classes at Leiths School of Food and Wine and for a private client in Hamburg (Germany), his debut in mainland Europe.

In September 2013, he announced the launch of his own range of food products in Malaysia and the UK including Malaysian curry powder, spiced chocolate bars and ice creams and sorbets, at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur[15] and the Speciality & Fine Food Fair[16] at London Olympia.

On 18 November 2013 assisted in launching the Hospitality Guild's new headquarters and training centre, Hospitality House, serving up Malaysian food to guests including Matthew Hancock MP, the Minister for Skills & Enterprise.

In January 2014 he relocated to London to focus on new ventures and opportunities, with the ultimate aim of opening a restaurant in the UK capital.[17] He was also commissioned by a small London chain of pan-Asian restaurants, called Ekachai, to act as their Consultant Chef in developing new menus.[18]

Continuing his efforts to promote Malaysian cuisine, he was once again involved in the "Malaysia Kitchen"[19] campaign by MATRADE (Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation)[20] in 2014, including at their Spring Market event on London's South Bank, the Mayor of London's Eid Festival, food truck promotions in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games, and at the Malaysia Night event in Trafalgar Square. In 2014 he also made his debut at the Tong Tong Fair in The Hague[21] under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture at the Malaysian Embassy in the Netherlands, and featured as a commentator on Malaysian food topics on BBC World TV News and Channel News Asia.

In August 2014 he opened his culinary studio[22] in Banting, Malaysia, from where he and guest chefs run cookery classes and supper clubs. A year later he relaunched this as a restaurant named Nasi Daging.

In September 2014 he featured as a guest on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4, demonstrating the art of making Roti Canai. He was also a feature chef on Tom Kerridge's Best Ever Dishes, first aired on BBC2 in October 2014.

During October 2014, he hosted his first culinary tourism guided tour of Malaysia with guests from the UK.

In November 2014, he launched the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Food Trails first at the World Travel Market in London and then in KL with the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur.[23] He was also appointed as food ambassador for Kuala Lumpur, which he was involved in promotions and events throughout 2015, notably the curation of the inaugural KL Big Kitchen food festival in Merdeka Square.

In 2015 he also wrote and photoshot his book entitled 'Amazing Malaysian', which was published in early 2016. According to the copyright page, the photography was undertaken by Stuart Ovenden.


Malaysian Food, ISBN 978-0-9563772-0-3, published by Ning Ltd, UK, 2009 Malaysian Food (International Edition), ISBN 978-0-9563772-1-0, published by Ning Ltd, UK, 2010 (reprinted 2011) Malaysian Food (Kindle Edition), ISBN 978-0-9563772-2-7, published by Ning Ltd, UK, 2011 Malaysian Food (iBook/ePub Edition), ISBN 978-0-9563772-3-4, published by Ning Ltd, UK, 2011 Resipi Chef Norman, ISBN 978-983-124-736-5, published by Alaf 21, Malaysia, 2011 Malaysian Food (Third Edition), ISBN 978-0-9563772-4-1, published by normanmusa Ltd, UK, 2013 Amazing Malaysian, ISBN 978-0-224-10154-7, published by Square Peg, an imprint of Vintage, UK, 2016

TV & radio appearances, 2009-2014[24][edit]

Malaysia Hari Ini, TV3 (Malaysia) 5 June 2009 Nasi Lemak Kopi O, TV9 (Malaysia) 24 January 2010 Awani Pagi, Astro Awani 25 January 2010 In Person, TV3 (Malaysia) January 2010 Market Kitchen, Good Food Channel 16 February 2010 Buletin Utama, TV3 (Malaysia) 10 April 2010 Apa Apa Aje, TV3 (Malaysia) 22 April 2010 The Breakfast Show, NTV7 23 September 2010 Matt White's Gourmet Night, BBC Radio Manchester 7 April 2011 Ala Carte, NTV7 July to October 2011 (13 episodes) The Bigger Picture, BFM 89.9 Radio 4 October 2011 Jamie & Louise, BBC Radio Wales 28 October 2011 MasterChef Malaysia, Astro Ria 7 November 2011 Nasi Lemak Kopi O, TV9 (Malaysia) 27 January 2012 Open for Business, BFM 89.9 31 January 2012 Wales on the Menu, BBC Radio Wales 22 September 2012 Antarabangsa Musim, Rasa Halal 1 November 2012 MasterChef Malaysia, Astro Ria 1 November 2012 Malaysia Hari Ini (MHI), TV3 (Malaysia) 27 January 2013 Living the Life, Islam Channel 13 June 2013 The Breakfast Show, NTV7 31 August 2013 Haloodies, Islam Channel September 2013 (3 episodes) Malaysia Hari Ini (MHI), TV3 (Malaysia) 9 April 2014 Impact, BBC World News 27 June 2014 Sunday Brunch, Channel 4 21 September 2014 Tom Kerridge's Best Ever Dishes, BBC2 17 October 2014 Live News, Channel News Asia 25 October 2014


  1. ^ a b Malaysian Food (Malaysian edition), ISBN 978-0-9563772-1-0
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  5. ^ a b Malaysian Food, ISBN 978-0-9563772-0-3
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  11. ^ New Straits Times (Malaysia), 10 April 2012
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