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About Mahadev Chu

My life has been, and will continue to be, like looking through the lens of a camera… I focus, capture and enjoy each and every moment of it.

While serving National Service, I went through intensive army training and was commissioned as a Signal Officer in Singapore’s elite unit, the First Commando Battalion during which time, I also completed the Basic Airborne Course and was awarded both local and overseas Parachutist Badges.

After this mandatory military service with the army, I continued my studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS) where I pursued a degree in Engineering. During this period, I did several freelance stints as a fashion model and was fortunate to have been identified by the local newspaper as one of the modelling faces, together with other top models, to watch during that period of time. Good time management and hard work allowed me to balance a modelling schedule as well as my studies, and I successfully graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with Honours.

I was fortunate to secure a position as a foreign exchange dealer in the Treasury Department in a bank before my final results were even released. This was followed by work experience gained from various other positions in sales & marketing, and business development to productmanagement in various industries, which helped me build up a range of skill sets that allowed me to navigate the corporate world efficiently and with ease. It also meant that I got to travel for work purposes and to meet with the business elites, the movers and shakers of the various industries.

My mid-thirties were punctuated by various milestones – the most significant was having my own apartment, which opened up opportunities to entertain friends and organized parties at my little bachelor pad. These occasions meant that I could take the opportunity to whip up dishes from cookbook recipes or design my own special dishes. These proved to be a hit with my friends as many would often suggest that I start my own food business. The compliments then were encouraging but at that time I wasn’t sure unless I could find a unique offering to add to Singapore's food paradise.

In 2002, I chanced on a book, Cave in the Snow by Vicki MacKenzie. It described the quest of a Western nun, Tenzin Palmo, in search for enlightenment. I was so inspired after reading it that I continued to pick up books on Buddhism because I just wanted to learn more about it; I must have read about 20 books in three months! The following year marked the first step I took in my spiritual path; I formally “took refuge” to declare my commitment, acceptance and faith as a Buddhist – I was introduced to meditation, attended many teachings by various Buddhist Lamas, embarked on pilgrimages to India and Nepal, and I even trekked the Himalayas. And as part of my spiritual pursuit, I became a vegetarian, which lasted for period of approximately nine to 10 years.

Embracing a vegetarian diet was fairly straightforward but eating healthily was a challenge until I was introduced to Shojin Ryori, a vegetarian diet, which originated from the Zen temples. The main essence of Shojin Ryori lies in its philosophies, which instill mindfulness in its preparation, cooking process and up to the final dish presentation. Even the act of eating a Shojin meal involves certain reflections. In addition, many of ingredients of the current season, which present the best nourishment, are used so as to allow us to learn to live and breathe in the present moment; it is about living in harmony with nature.

What were initially just alluring pictures of the cuisine quickly turned into a quest to learn more about this cuisine, essentially, the mysteries behind its preparation. Ifaced numerous challenges while on this quest for more information about Shojin Ryori; one particular organization had even suggested that I should give up the idea of learning more about the cuisine as I am not Japanese. Fortunately, my perseverance and with the help of friends paid off and I managed to gather some leads to learn more about it.

Driven by this strong passion, I finally left the corporate life, which I had grown accustomed to, and headed to Japan in search of the wonders of this cuisine. It was to be a journey that has blessed me with the opportunity to meet and study with good teachers, as well as gaining valuable guidance from friends in the culinary industry – they expedited my learning curve and equipped me with the knowledge and skills to undertake this cuisine with confidence. Transplanting this cuisine’s values in Singapore was made possible by adjusting the cooking process and substituting those ingredients, which are not easily available in Singapore.

Thus in 2006, fresh from having spent approximately three years honing my craft, I decided to establish Enso Kitchen and I was to become the first in Singapore to introduce this delicate cuisine outside of Japan. In addition, I also pioneered the concept of personalized chef services for the home and office. It was a concept, which I felt would plug the gap of catering to smaller party groups. This concept has since evolved and I now serve Shojin meals, at specific dates during each of the four seasons, exclusively at a Japanese restaurant in Singapore, as well as conduct cooking classes and demonstrations of this fine cuisine.

Through Enso Kitchen, I have had the opportunity to serve many established businessman, professionals, celebrities, political leaders, gourmet chefs and other public figures. Gaining compliments from both vegetarian and non-vegetarian customers, Enso Kitchen has also caught the attention of mainstream media: Media Coverage

Learning the art of Shojin cooking has allowed me to accomplish my goal of integrating spirituality, a fulfilling work life and daily life into one entity. There was nothing else I could ask for… or so I had thought.

In February 2009, I suffered a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital where I had two stents placed in my heart arteries. I was stunned. Everyone was puzzled. No one could believe a health conscious and active person like me could suffer a heart attack.

Some friends have called me a poster boy for health. I felt ashamed at that moment; a feeling of having let them down. The doctors could not find the cause of the heart attack except for citing the possibility of my hereditary high blood pressure, which I’ve had since young. However, thanks to my healthy lifestyle, my road to recovery was swift and even the doctors were amazed; I was able to go to work at the restaurant the very next day after I was discharged from the hospital. Nobody sensed anything was amiss.

During this time, I came in contact with the traditional Chinese metaphysics science, Bazi (eight characters), which essentially plots one’s destiny path using one’s date and time of birth. From my chart, my teacher was able to decipher my health problems, in particular my heart and even my surroundings. It was around this time that I decided to learn Bazi and subsequently Feng Shui. And…I also started to eat meat! My health improved by leaps and bounds – even my cardiologist was amazed at the rapid recovery I was making. He had no idea of what I was encountering then.

I found my interest in Bazi picked up tremendously as I studied it more and to my surprise, I found that I had a knack for doing Bazi readings. And I had a good teacher. Thus together with Feng Shui, I was able to combine both tools into my readings for others, to help them improve their quality of life, maximize their potential and overcome challenges.

Such ancient wisdom places much emphasis on the balance of different elements as well as the strength of each element according to the four seasons. I have also learned that even Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use similar principles to understand the balance of the elements, which in turn assist them with their diagnoses and treat the subsequent imbalances in the chi of the person. I am intrigued by how the various aspects of my life have gradually come together to form a whole picture.

In late 2010, I had the opportunity to move to Taiwan and with a partner subsequently established Heliosphere, a holistic centre in Taipei. I find it a great joy to be able to share various holistic practices and to see how these have an impact on the many lives that we’ve come into contact with. At Heliosphere, I have had the chance to develop my own Bazi software, which the general public can use with ease – all they need to do is to key in their details to churn out their own destiny chart. This is the expression of my commitment to share my Bazi, as well as Feng Shui, knowledge.

At the time of writing this in September 2014, I’d have just published my first cookbook, Shojin Ryori, The Art of Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine. This is a dream come true – to be able to pull together my knowledge and cooking experience into a book of recipes that is more than the embodiment of Shojin Ryori; it is my life’s work up till now and…. the recipes are easy to follow! With this book, I hope that more people will gain a better knowledge of this cuisine and they embrace the principles of its cooking in their own kitchen.

For now, I juggle my time between Singapore (for Enso Kitchen) and Taiwan (for Heliosphere). I am grateful and remain excited for having two “homes”, for they allow me to straddle two cultures that continue to offer opportunities for growth – spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Please stay tuned and watch this space……



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