At The Table With: MinShien Denis, Creator of Joyous Apron

May 17, 2024

Name: MinShien Denis

Pronouns: She/Her


Instagram: joyousapron

Favorite Sur La Table Kitchen Tool: Sur La Table Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven



“I truly believe everyone can cook.”

That’s the philosophy of MinShien Denis, the founder and creative mind behind Joyous Apron—it’s at the core of everything she creates.

“Armed with detailed instructions and lots of tips and tricks (I don’t hold back!), everyone can truly create delicious foods from the comfort of their homes. I love it whenever my audience and readers use my recipes, make these delicious foods to feed their people, and gain confidence in their cooking and baking skills in the kitchen.”

But long before she was dazzling her nearly 24,000 followers with recipes for

chicken fried rice, beef cooked in a savory sauce with ginger and scallions or herby, buttery, salmon (to name a few!), MinShien was learning how to cook the dishes from her hometown of Penang, Malayasia.

“Penang is a food mecca, famous for its wide variety of foods with mind-blowing flavors and spices…My grandmother and aunts are fabulous cooks, and they spoiled (and schooled) me with amazing foods since I was little. My tastebuds were well-trained from my youth. I like to think I was ‘destined’ to become a food content creator.” 

That ‘destiny’ led her to learn about and explore new dishes, recipes and flavors from all over the world.

I have always loved food, and my passion for food drove me to start creating delicious foods in my own kitchen when I had my first apartment in college.

I am a self-taught cook, but traveling, along with family and friends from my many seasons of life, has taught me and influenced the way I cook. The food I grew up with will always have a special place in my heart and I have also learned to make, and grown to love, yummy foods from all over the world.

And her tastes really are globally inspired—her two favorite dishes?

“Penang Laksa, which is a flavor-bursting sour, sweet, spicy rice noodle dish with a seafood-based broth loaded with fresh cucumbers, pineapples and mint leaves. This dish is very regional to Penang, and I’ve loved it as long as I can remember.

And I love a traditional Italian lasagna made from scratch, with béchamel sauce. No ricotta please! Hits the spot every single time.”

While she may love exploring new flavors and dishes, seeing the love people have for her culture’s cuisine brings MinShien the most joy:

“It brings me so much joy to see how Asian cuisine has gained popularity and love across North America over the last few decades; I love that I can even find my shrimp chips and durian ice cream at Costco these days!

Food is a big part of many Asian cultures, and it’s so fun to see more people getting to enjoy and appreciate the unique flavors and pure deliciousness Asian foods bring.”

But truly nothing fills her cup quite like sharing her love of food and cooking with others.

“Sharing food and making food for others is my love language. I love serving and caring for others by bringing a warm and delicious meal to their dinner tables. Food is healing; it’s a comfort when life is hard or when people are too busy to prepare a home-cooked meal.

I am a creator at heart and want to keep creating food that will inspire people to make magic happen in the kitchen. I never want this work to be something I do just for the sake of work, and sometimes the days are long and the work is hard!

I always want to create beautiful recipes from my love and passion for food, which is what drove me to do this in the first place.” 

Oh, and remember how MinShien said she “doesn’t hold back” when it comes to sharing her expertise? Well, she offered up these tried-and-true tips to make your next meal a breeze:

  • Never drain cooked pasta with cold water—it washes away the starch and affects the way the sauce clings to it!
  • Salt is a simple yet powerful flavor enhancer—if something is bland, a pinch of salt or two can really open up the flavors.
  • Fresh, quality ingredients make a world of difference.


Hungry for more? Check out more of MinShien’s recipes on her website—Joyous Apron—or head over to her Instagram and explore the elegant, elevated and downright delicious things she’s cooking up!

Explore MinShien’s Recipes

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