In the 19th century, people of all races flocked to Southeast Asia to trade, and seek new life. Among their traditions and beliefs, they also brought with them the cuisines of their hometowns, which influenced, or were influenced, by other cuisines, and blended over time. "The New Mrs Lee's Cookbook Vol. 2: Straits Heritage Cuisine" is a collection of recipes that testify to this unique culinary heritage. A Peranakan, the late Mrs Lee Chin Koon was a descendent of these cross-cultural mixes. Steeped in the Peranakan tradition of labouring hard in the kitchen to prepare meals for the family, Mrs Lee complied her own collection of recipes, and published "Mrs Lee's Cookbook" in 1974. The cookbook has since had numerous reprints, and has become widely accepted as one of the authorities on Nonya cuisine in Singapore. Now, three decades later, these well-loved recipes have been faithfully and lovingly reworked by her grand-daughter. Shermay Lee, into two fully illustrated cookbooks. The first, "The New Mrs Lee's Cookbook Vol. 1: Nonya Cuisine" was launched in 2003.
It won the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2003 in the category of Special Awards of the Jury (English - Rest of the World). This second cookbook, "The New Mrs Lee's Cookbook Vol. 2: Straits Heritage Cuisine" features a delightful mix of Chinese, Malay and Eurasian dishes.
Shermay Lee is an investment banker-lurned-chef. She revised her grandmother's classic cookbook. Mrs Lee's Cookbook Nonya Recipes, into two beautifully illustrated cookbooks namely The New Mrs Lee's Cookbook Vol. 1: Nonya Cuisine, and The New Mrs Lee's Cookbook Vol. 2: Straits Chinese Cuisine. The former went on to clinch the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2003 and is a bestseller. A sixth-generation Peranakan with a strong culinary tradition, she started cooking at the age of five. She learnt the rudiments of cooking first from her grandmother, Mrs Lee Chin Koon, then later, at the renowned classical French culinary institute, Le Cordon Bleu Prior to that, she graduated from Brown University, USA, in Political Science and History. She has opened her own cooking school, Shermay's Cooking School, in Singapore, where she personally teaches Nonya cooking as well as other types of cuisine. She has plans to continue publishing other cookbooks.