Growing up, I have always have a keen interest in watching cooking shows and cooking competitions, and among the personalities I was familiar with on TV, Chef Wan has always stood out as the one true Malaysian hero who tirelessly promote Malaysian cuisine. I mean, there are plenty chefs out there who are good at various types of international food, but how many of them can truly represent Malaysia on the international level?
Well, on the 31st of October, 2015, I got the honor of working with the one and only Chef Wan on the same panel of judges in The Star R.AGE’s first ever Food Fight. It was a bit of a dream came true moment for me, a tick off the bucket list that I never even dared pen in.
R.AGE Food Fight finale, published on 17/11/2015
The article of the finale came out on the newspaper on the 17/11/2015, if you have a copy at hand, do read, otherwise head to http://rage.com.my/foodfight for the articles online.
Over here I just want to jot down the experience I had on the event, just so that I can re-read this space in years to come.
the dishes prepared by the contestants
The competition was fairly straight forward, each contestants had some 15 minutes to present their food and show it to the judges. After that we were served the very same dishes and comment on them.
Judging was based on a mixture of “personality”, taste, and presentation.
The dishes created by the contestants were actually pretty interesting:
- Nurilkarim Razha – Baked fish with prawn otak-otak mousseline served with ulam pesto and paku salad
- Ahong Yeang – Roasted chicken with coconut gravy, served with a side of ulam rice and long beans and offals
- Li-Anne Kuek – Pumpkin & walnut loaf with white chocolate & pumpkin ganache, honeycomb, yogurt sorbet & milk crumb
- Kelly Siew – Garlic prawn tart with pineapple and tomato chutney
- Ashley Pan – Tuna and watermelon tartare served with basil ice cream
The presentations were very good, and the taste department too mostly quite interesting. My favorite was the blend of local ingredients with modern touch in Nuril’s dish, with Ahong’s chicken in close second. As for the delivery, Ahong was the most entertaining, with Li-Anne sounding most professional, and Nuril being most balanced.
Nuril was crowned as the winner
At the end, after tallying up the score sheet with a bit of final discussions among the judges, Nuril emerged as the first Food Fighter by unanimous decision.
He was basically the “complete package” and the one who did the best on the day overall. I was also happy that a fellow Penangite took the crown as well, and it was well deserved.
what an honor to work alongside my hero in Malaysian cuisine – Chef Wan
It was an interesting experience for me being on a panel with fellow judges whom all have much higher qualifications in doing this than me. Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia master chef Rodolphe Onno was very professional and direct, Chef Tan Chung Liang, a new comer in the scene had proper professional training, Darren Chin, owner of the highly-rated DC Restaurant definitely had a taste for fine foods, and of course, Chef Wan needs no introduction.
Thank you, The Star, for the opportunity.