Good enough to eat

Gwi hopes to bring out the local food culture through his start-up Dinez-in. — Sunpix by Amirul Syafiq Mohd Din
Restaurant quality food in the chef's home — Sunpix by Amirul Syafiq Mohd Din
A Dinez-in event — Sunpix by Amirul Syafiq Mohd Din

COMING from a Peranakan family, TC Gwi was born into a variety of cultures and the one thing every one of his extensive direct family members look forward to is his grandmother's cooking during the festive season.

Being a huge foodie who enjoys both eating and cooking, his grandmother and mother taught him and his siblings how to cook although none ventured into the food and beverage industry – until now.

Gwi founded Dinez-in, a platform to connect food lovers to passionate home chefs. The start-up is like an Airbnb for food where diners can enjoy home-cooked meals in the homes of the chefs themselves. But that is not all, they also serve daily meal subscriptions and highlight those who want to sell their cakes, cookies and speciality dishes.

"The inspiration came when I was studying in Semenyih which was a long way from my home in Ampang – and I really missed the taste of home. Through this, I hope to bring out the local culture, share stories of these home chefs, increase their productivity and create job opportunities," he said.

Before venturing into this, Gwi started as a management associate in Astro before being promoted to Senior Associate of Strategic Finance. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Applied Psychology and Management Studies as well as a Masters Degree in Management Psychology.

What are your plans for Dinez-in?
Right now, we are strong in the Klang Valley and have received many applications from people in Penang, Ipoh and Johor to join us as home chefs. This year, our plan is to stabilise our operations and marketing in Peninsular Malaysia and venture into East Malaysia in the fourth quarter. Next year, we are targeting Southeast Asia – to places like Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Tell us your experience with Astro.
I had to rotate between different departments such as marketing, digital, content and production as a management associate. After one and a half years of the two-year programme, I tried to resign but my boss at that time appreciated my talents and convinced me to stay in his department. I got pulled out from the programme early and joined the Business Analysis department.

I didn't have a usual job when I was Senior Associate. My job was to do whatever I feel can bring cost saving, revenue generation or business operations optimisation. More or less, I wander around to see what I can do.

I had three mentors in Astro. I was quite aggressive, gung-ho and too blunt – they helped me stay humble. They taught me leadership skills and made me a better person. I am very thankful to them who gave me such an amazing learning opportunity and to start things by myself.

Tell us about your psychology paper which is published in three journals.
I was the top scorer for my final year project which is a paper on emotional intelligence (EI). It looked at how EI can help people in the workspace, like do different personalities mean different EI, and how people cope with stressful environments with different levels of EI.

I did a lot of research, got a lot of help from the people around me and my data turned out to be quite useful. I feel it is important for leaders to understand the emotions they are working with. For a good leader, not only IQ takes place but the need to empathise with people.

Tell us a story.
I wrote in my resume that I was in a magic society and was waiting for interviewers to ask me about it – and the one from Astro did. By the end of the performance, the card was in his pocket and he asked me if I could teach him. I said yes, but he needed to hire me first – and that was how I got in. There were over 800 applicants and I got selected after one interview because I could do magic.

What is your goal?
One of my life goals is to contribute back to society. I want to run an orphanage network in the name of my parents. I have seen many underprivileged people and that has compelled me to save them. I am still far from there, but what I am doing now is a stepping stone to helping more people.