Meet the chef behind Six-Eyed Scorpion, Sandra Seah (they/them). They’ve worked at some of Melbourne/Naarm’s most notable restaurants like Riso, Transformer, and Smith & Daughters. Sandra is obsessed with seriously sexy flavour, and experimenting with new foods and recipes.
What was your family's food culture growing up and how did you get into cheffing?
I was born and raised in Singapore where food was a big part of our family. Both of my grandmothers are amazing cooks and they cooked dinner for the family almost every day. So, that was always the time for the whole family to stop what they were doing and come together to have a meal.
After living in Melbourne for a few years, I was at a crossroads in my life where I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but since I always loved cooking, I decided to study commercial cookery. Whilst doing that I also started working in cafes and a bunch of restaurants which has led me to Six-Eyed Scorpion and here we are.
Why Crispy Chilli Oil and what is it exactly?
Why not? For me, it's just the perfect condiment. You can put it on anything and everything. It's freakin’ delicious. It’s oil that has been infused with chilli and other spices along with the addition of crispy bits for the next level of texture and crunch. The finished product is addictive and delicious and you can basically eat it with anything, even straight from the jar.
Talk us through the ingredients
Using the highest quality ingredients has always been super important to me. My vision was an extremely aromatic oil that is super umami and complex in flavour. So, we're talking bay leaf, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, shiitake and a bunch more other spices. The smell speaks for itself when you crack open a jar. In my opinion the best part of a chilli oil is those crispy bits; that's why we use a mammoth amount of freshly fried shallots and garlic. Lots of tears have been shed but it's definitely worth it. It provides that moreish crunch and sweetness that comes through in our chilli oil.
How did you develop the recipe?
I had the recipe for ages and I was constantly tweaking it during lockdown until I was completely happy with it. When friends, family and other chefs tried it, everyone always had the same reaction – it's amazing you need to bottle it and sell it. People were very persistent.
Scaling-up definitely has been a learning curve for me. It took a lot of time and planning and consideration to make sure that quality is never compromised. That being said, I'm so grateful for how things have taken off and it’s allowed me to quit my full-time job to focus on Six-Eyed Scorpion. It’s a good feeling to be so well received right off the bat.
What’s the story behind the Six-Eyed Scorpion name?
I’m a Scorpio and I wanted a name that encapsulates who I am as a person as well as the punchy powerful flavours I enjoy. We did a lot of research into scorpions and it's unique and it rolls of the tongue the best instead of ten-eyed scorpion or twelve-eyed scorpion.
Any future plans to expand the range?
I definitely want to expand the range. That said, I'm a huge perfectionist and there's a long process of experimentation and fine-tuning and I wouldn't put out anything unless I'm 1000% satisfied with it.
What do you like to cook?
In my downtime at home, I gravitate towards quick meals that pack a punch. Simple meals done really well like poke bowls, pastas, rice dishes or something along those lines. For a loved one, I would definitely comfort food, food that makes you feel warm & cosy. My go-to dishes tend to be congee, noodle soups, stuff like that.
If Six-Eyed Scorpion were a song, what would it be?
Definitely Sexy Eyes by Dr Hook