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Chef Wan is my favorite Malaysian celebrity chefs of all. The man has arguably done the most for Malaysian cuisine than anyone ever had. I was genuinely proud when I saw his cooking show on TV when I was in Vietnam.

The man is my hero.

Chef Wan went around and gave tips to the contestants
Chef Wan went around and gave tips to the contestants

I finally got to see the man in real life a couple Saturdays ago during Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 dan Gas PETRONAS event. Together with Petronas Dagangan Berhad‘s Nik Faizanira Nik Affandi, and Berita Harian‘s Jami’ah Sokri, they were the panel of judges for the event.

Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 with Petronas Gas and BH at the Curve
Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2  Berita Harian dan Gas PETRONAS at the Curve, Damansara

Before I got ahead of myself, Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 BH dan Gas PETRONAS is the second year of the unique competition that has the aim to find chefs who has interesting personality, highly eloquent, and be able to communicate and capture audience with his/her culinary knowledge. Of course, one must also be able to cook up great dishes.

Our hosts of the day were two very funny guys – Angah Raja Lawak and Mie Raja Lawak.

Mohd Zamri bin Sahari, the emcees, Kamarudin bin Dali, Riza bin Ismail
Mohd Zamri bin Sahari, the emcees, Kamarudin bin Dali, Riza bin Ismail

The competition was separated into two main categories – individual and professional. Kimberly and I attended the event just as the professional category was getting started.

These were the three finalists

  • Mohd Zamri bin Sahari, 25, Culinary lecturer and freelance chef
  • Riza bin Ismail, 28, Executive Chef
  • Kamarudin bin Dali, 38, Hotel Chef

and they had one hour to prepare an appetizer and a main dish
and they had one hour to prepare an appetizer and a main dish

The chefs were given one hour to come up with an appetizer and a main dish to impress the judges. Ample ingredients were given, which includes seafood, vegetable, meat, mushroom, seasonings, and so on. Blender, pots, pans, knife and all other necessary kitchen utensils were available as well.

While there’re kitchen helpers for the individual event, professional chefs had to do it all by themselves.

Ayu OIAM, Baby Shima, and Adam AF were among the performers
Ayu OIAM, Baby Shima, and Adam AF were among the p performers

While the contestants were busy cooking, we were entertained by Ayu OIAM, Baby Shima, and Adam AF. Chef Wan also went around to the contestants to give advice and asked questions as well.

An hour later, all three chefs successfully completed their two dishes each.

a photo with the contestants and judges, before tasting begins
a photo with the contestants and judges, before tasting begins

Then there’s judging time, and boy was Chef Wan an awesome judge.

He was harsh, to the point, and absolutely non-nonsense in his criticism to each dish and the contestants. It was a bit like Simon Cowell, except maybe with even more drama.

Case in point – “if orang mat salleh eat your under cooked potato, they’ll throw it to you”.

To be fair, he also gave some very good advice. If anything, I am now even more impressed with Chef Wan.

Chef Wan was harsh, to the point, and very very good in his critics
Chef Wan was harsh, to the point, and very very good in his critics

Among the dishes mussels in Thai sauce (which was criticized by Chef Wan for deviating away from 1Malaysia theme), salmon with begedil, deep fried tiger prawns, roti jala and so forth. They were beautifully decorated.

and here are your winners! congratulations
and here are your winners! congratulations

At the end, Mohd Zamri bin Sahari was crowned as the champion. His bergedil with pan seared salmon was praised by Chef Wan, and on top of that, I thought he was the most eloquent among the three contestants as well. The prize was RM 10,000, and a 6 month contract for Berita Harian penning the cooking column.

Riza bin Ismail and Kamarudin bin Dali came in as 2nd and 3rd place.

In the individual category, Chua Tor Aik won the top prize, while Azman Abu Samah and Rosni binti Johari were 2nd and 3rd.

I wish the best to the winning chefs and to the runner ups, there’s always next year.

After the event I tried to replicate the winning main dish – bergedil with pan seared salmon. It turned out to be a pretty simple dish to make, and one that wasn’t bad at all when it comes to taste as well. Check out the video!

Discuss : Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 and My Bergedil with Pan Seared Salmon

  1. i have fond memories of watching chef wan on tv at my grandmother’s house in malacca, back when i was still in school. am grateful to him for the entertainment :D

  2. fun event! chef wan was awesome! can’t see your video!

  3. i wanna replicate your version of salmon too! :P

    Latest: Thanks for being here in 2012!

  4. Salmon bergedil sounds good. Easier than the usual kembung ones that I make. Ridding the bones in kembung is quite a chore.

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