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The Magic Cookery School

Tucked away in a little corner in Opera Estate is a small cookery school.

It is home-based cooking set in a lovely garden. It is as if you were in Bali. Or Hawaii. Or in some deserted green oasis, far from the madding crowd.

"It never fails to astonish my newer clients," laughed cooking instructor Ruqxana, as she showed me around her two-storey black and white rented terrace house. "They look in from outside the gate and wonder if they have come to the right place."

You are welcome at the gate by flowering white orchids and lush tropical plants. They are hung and grounded in and around a pondok that sits squarely on the front garden's only available space.

But you don't mind, because it is sooo cosy and cool. Even on a hot humid afternoon in searing light, you feel you have found escape from the day's cares.

Ruqxana Vasanwala's classes are kept small and intimate. "Usually groups come to the classes together, so it's more fun," Ruq says. "There's always lots of chatter and laughter, like our communal cooking when relatives come together during festivals to prepare huge feasts."

Ruq has her own regulars. News of her cooking classes spread by word of mouth. Students are involved in the preparation and cooking, and then they get to eat in a setting that can only be described as utterly bohemian colonial.

Singapore and Asian cuisine are taught, reflecting the traditional cooking heritage of our immigrant population from India, China, the Malay archipelago, Indochina and the Middle East. For the adventurous, they should try Ruq's kampung cooking in Pulau Ubin. Done only on demand.

A Gujarati by descent, Ruq is a self-taught cook and a once-upon-a-time engineer (Yes, you read right.). But she started to learn to cook from her mum since she was seven. Her cooking school is listed on Singapore Tourism Board's website.

If interested, get in touch with Ruq at Tel 65-63489667



Be Aspired. Aspire -Cafe, Dance, Wellness

Thinking of having a splendid dining experience, engaging in a romantic ballroom or hot Latin dance with your partner, and enjoying a professional facial treatment, all in one place for your convenience? Think of Aspire Cafe, Dance, Wellness.

Aspire specialises in offering a total lifestyle concept of integrating a cafe, a dance school/studio and a skincare salon, all under one roof.

The cafe serves a simple range of tea drinks, specially catering to the health-conscious. Aspire also serves a mouth-watering cakes, desserts and other light bites to delight every taste bud.

The cafe overlooks Joo Chiat Road and is a nice, cosy settings for dining, dating, business meetings, or just chilling out with friends.

Aspire's cafe and patio are also open for bookings for private or business functions, such as barbeques, buffets, dinner and dance, and more.

Aspire mainly offers dance courses and practice sessions in Latin dance, ballroom dance, hip hop and many more. Its dance lessons are conducted by only highly professional and dedicated dance instructors. More importantly, it brings people, including couples, closer together.

At the same time Aspire's skincare salon offers skincare products and solutions to bring out the best in one's skin. Therapies are performed by only professional and certified skincare therapist. Both male and female clients of all ages are welcome.

Aspire is located at 169 Joo Chiat Road, levels 2 and 3.

For general enquiries and bookings, feel free to buzz Aspire at 6344 7424 or email us at .

For enquiries on dance courses, please call 9431 7553 or email to for more information.

And to address your skincare concerns, do call 9225 9058 for an appointment at your earliest convenience. Or email : . Consultation is free.

Feel free to also log on to Aspire's website.













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