Shamzuri (Sham) Hanifa is a multi-award winning Chef, Businessman and Broadcaster. Currently he is the Chef/Owner of The Cottage Restaurant; owner of Synergy Café; Director and Chef Consultant for Buffalo Boy Steakhouse and Chef/Owner of the ‘Chef Sham Sauces’ range, all based in Carrick on Shannon, County Leitrim.
Originally from Malaysia, Sham moved to Carrick on Shannon in 2000 to begin on a journey that would take him from general kitchen work to being head chef and owner / co-owner of a number of establishments. Heavily inspired by his own multi-cultural background and the influence of his grandmother and mother, Sham began working in kitchens at the tender age of 12! He is the perfect representation of the Malaysian society that he grew up in, with Chinese and Thai influence from his maternal side and Indian and Malay influences from his paternal side. Sham himself can speak Thai, Chinese, Malay and Indian.
He opened his first restaurant, The Cottage Restaurant, in 2008. Here, he works proudly with local artisan producers to provide modern Irish cooking with Asian background flavours. He believes that “the perfectly balanced flavour between the two culinary cultures requires you to respect the ingredients – local and fresh products are the key”. This popular restaurant has won numerous awards, including ‘Best Chef’ (Leitrim and Connacht) Awards for Sham, multiple ‘Best Restaurant’ awards as well as accolades from Georgina Campbell, the McKenna and Good Eating Guides.
He began his ‘Chef Sham Sauces’ range in 2013 and it has been expanding since with more sauces added recently. These authentic sauces are full of Malaysian influences, made from recipes passed down from Sham’s grandmother Nang Boot and locally sourced ingredients where possible, even some grown by Sham in The Cottage Restaurant garden and greenhouse. In 2017, he became co-Owner and Chef Consultant for the Buffalo Boy Steakhouse in Carrick-on-Shannon, another multi-award-winning venture for him.
Sham can be seen on our screens since 2019 with regular appearances on the Virgin Media One’s Six O’Clock Show where he demonstrates easy Asian-style dishes. He has also had a regular radio slot presenting recipes and answering food related queries on Shannonside FM (Joe Finnegan Show).
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has been resident chef in the Theatre of Food at the Electric Picnic Festival since 2014 and also demo-chef at the Body and Soul Festival. He has been a chef for Bord Bia at Bloom and also a demonstrator for Calor Gas. He has been a speaker at the Taste of Dublin and has participated in numerous food festivals and events around the country.
He is a proud member of Euro-toque Chefs and is a Food Ambassador for County Leitrim. He holds regular cookery classes, both in person and online.
Sham’s unique story and journey has been documented in the RTÉ series about multiculturalism in Ireland Meet the Neighbours and also for Malaysian television (RTM) in a feature titled Taiping Boy in Leitrim.