Our 'Unconventional Optometrist' column is where we chat to optometrists who are a bit out of the ordinary! Do you know anyone who we should feature? Let us know!
Introducing Kevin La, a young optometrist who has followed his passion of introducing delicious foods from around the world and now runs a succcessful Instagram page. Read on to find out more about him.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi, I'm Kev! I'm an optometrist in my second year out, working in the Greater South West of Sydney. In my time off, I search for places to eat really good and authentic foods from cuisines around the world and write about them.
Where can we follow you?
Find me at @sydneyfoodboy on instagram!
How did you get into what you’re doing in your time outside optometry?
Well, I love to travel. It gives me so much joy to hop off a plane somewhere to immerse yourself in a rich culture with a completely different way of life. And one of the things I definitely look forward to most is trying all of the amazing food that each new place has to offer!
I think we can all agree that working everyday is a little less exciting than that. On my last trip out, I wondered - how can I make everyday feel like a holiday?
We’re lucky enough to live in Sydney, one of the cultural capitals of the world. So many people from all walks of life have come together to call one place home, meaning there is a world of different flavours waiting to be tried around Sydney. So that’s when I started on my quest and started writing about it!
Tell us about one of your most memorable food experiences
I was walking down the quiet-end of Liverpool and noticed a small, bustling eatery. People were coming and going with huge bags of takeaway containers to feed their families. With Lebanese cuisine being one of my favourites, I was so intrigued. I had to sit down for a meal.
The hummus and falafel I tried there turned out to be amazing - some of the best I’ve eaten. Turns out that the restaurant was family-run and has been well-known in Liverpool’s Lebanese community for years. I read somewhere that the falafel recipe has been passed down a few generations too. We’re definitely lucky to be able to have that and many other food experience at our doorsteps!
Do you find it easy to juggle your optometry career and your other passions?
I find that searching for and writing about good food doesn’t take much effort from me! Before I started the IG page, you'd find me chatting away about food to my friends in my spare time anyway… or even to patients in the consult room ha! Food is a love shared by many and you can really talk to anyone for ages about the great food they’ve eaten. Because of this, it was a hobby that I easily translated into a passion project outside of work.
Does time away from optometry help you appreciate it more?
I would say so. I love being an optometrist. We help people to see again, and we improve people’s lives because of it! Even if you don’t see it, you’re making a very positive impact on the world as an optom.
I’ve seen a few of my peers become burned out from their jobs though. It’s understandable. It can get stressful, especially if you work in a practice with a high volume of patients. Being a guy that finds it really hard to stand still, I definitely didn’t want to go through that. Starting @sydneyfoodboy allowed me to pursue another love of mine and I would say I’ve enjoyed life more, both within and outside of work, since.
Do you have any advice for young optometrists out there who would like to pursue their passion but haven’t quite gotten started?
You’ve just gotta do it! If you have something that you’ve wanted to pursue in the back of your mind, you should get out there and turn that thought into action! You won’t know if you’ll be successful or not until you try. You only have one life, so you have to make sure that you do everything in your power to enjoy every single day of it.