ALEC WING is a proud parent. Not just to his daughter and son, aged six and four respectively, but also to his precious pots and pans, and especially his knives.
'I hate it when my maid mistreats my knives,' says the 43-year-old chief executive of media outfit AdTag.
They have to be cleaned and stored properly, adds Wing, who's been known to fork out a few hundred dollars for just one kitchen knife by Henckels.
He is a firm believer that superior equipment makes a good cook even better.
'For instance, your food tends to get burnt when you use a pan that is not heavy enough. When the temperature is not even, you don't get good results.'
He uses the Calphalon range of expensive pots and pans, waxing lyrical over their use of 'anodised aluminium' instead of Teflon.
Born in Port Louis, Mauritius, to a third-generation Chinese Hakka family, Wing has been comfortable in the kitchen ever since he was seven.
'I guess I like playing with fire,'' he says cheekily.
From cooking noodles for himself he graduated to learning Hakka dishes like salted vegetables with pork and Lei Char Fan (a traditional Hakka dish where tea is poured over condiments including groundnuts, sesame seeds and basil leaves) from his accountant father.
'Cooking is fun but the reward after that is even better,' he says.
He also experimented a lot, thanks to the rich culinary heritage in Mauritius.
'I grew up with so many different types of food - Creole, Indian, French and, of course, Chinese.'
He is particularly adept at roasting and grilling, skills honed by years of doing beach barbecues with friends. He is especially proud of his Carribean-style roast leg of lamb.
'It was taught to me by a friend whose parents came from the Virgin Islands. The secret is to marinate it in vinegar and garlic and then cover it with paprika.'
He confesses to being a bit of a kitchen Nazi: 'When I'm in the kitchen, everyone has to get out. I like the space.'
Wing, who often hosts potluck parties with friends at his condominium in the East, adds: 'I'm also a clean-as-you-go cook. I need the space and I don't like utensils cluttering up the sink.'
It was for one of these parties that he came up with a recipe for this week's strawberry tiramisu.
'I was supposed to come up with dessert and I wanted something nice, sweet and appealing. I decided on tiramisu because the preparation time is short, there is no baking and you just have to mix everything up. I already know how to make it from reading cookbooks, but decided to improvise with strawberries.'
It proved to be a huge hit and he now makes it regularly for friends.
Strawberries also remind him of the night he proposed to his wife, who teaches English at the Japanese School here. They got married 10 years ago.
He slipped a 1.3 carat marquise-cut diamond ring into her dessert of strawberries and ice-cream and she nearly swallowed it.
The story behind the ring is even funnier.
He recalls: 'I went to the jewellers and this woman showed me a ring and told me: 'That's a D colour diamond.' Not knowing much about diamonds, I said: 'No, no, no. I want an A colour diamond'.'
D colour diamonds are colourless, and are the most expensive or desirable.
'Needless to say, I didn't get a discount at all. It's our 10th anniversary this year. I now know a lot better,' he says, laughing.
» Alec Wing's Tiramisu with Strawberries