There are 12 national and regional teams from Asia, Africa, and America flocking over to China for this competition.
This talk-of-the-town competition is a prelude of the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA), otherwise known as the Culinary Olympics 2020 where teams are required to prepare four cold finger foods; one festive platter with two methods of preparation of fish, two garnishes, two dressings and one salad; one hot main course; and one plated dessert - for 12 persons in under 5 hours. The panel of adjudicators comprises Dr Rick Stephen (Continental Director for Asia, WORLDCHEFS), Chef Andreas Muller, Chef Daniel Mendez and Chef Dale Lyman (WORLDCHEFS Certified Judges).
Team South Korea emerged as the champions. Nevertheless, the competing young chefs team is made up of Alicia Tay, Pang Jin Yong, Amanda Cheah (School of Hospitality students), and Camilyn Aina, supported by School of Hospitality students Tsen Jun Yan, Ruknuddin Rosman, and Yam Yih Herng – who managed to attain gold at this competition. The team was also accompanied by School of Hospitality teaching fellows Chef Lee Han Ying, Chef Nur Amirah Hj Mazlan, and Chef Soon Pau Voon. Prior to the competition, Prof Chef Patrick Siau, Chef Chong Wei Tzeh, (School of Hospitality Teaching Fellows) and Chef Fhaizal Mustafa (Head Chef of Red Bean Bag) trained the young chefs team for many gruelling hours to sharpen their culinary skills and to gain confidence.
The Malaysia Culinary Team prepared dishes with the “Rasa-Rasa Malaysia” theme, featuring local flavours and spices which include tamarind, lemongrass, galangal, daun kesum, bunga kantan (ginger torch flower), and other varieties of local ulam (traditional salad vegetables). With all these refreshing greens, one can only imagine the aroma of the dishes prepared by the team.
Having bagged the gold medal, the Malaysia Culinary Team will be representing Malaysia as part of the IKA/ Culinary Olympics 2020 in Stuttgart, Germany. It is truly a proud moment for Sunway University for yet another culinary achievement. Young chef Alicia Tay was exceptionally grateful for the support rendered by the teaching fellows. She mentioned, “It is surreal to me for attaining this medal. I’m truly humbled by this experience, and could only pull through with the utmost support from mentors, assistants, and friends and family. It is also an eye-opening experience and there is so much that the team could improve on”. Young chef Pang Jin Yong also mentioned that competitions are an effective learning process because of being able to meet and learn from chefs in the international arena. Additionally, young chef Amanda Cheah also said, “It is a wonderful opportunity to represent my country to compete in an international competition”.
All being said and done, Chef Soon Pau Voon further affirms that competitions are an excellent way to enhance students’ learning experiences. He said “Competitions push students out of their comfort zones, typically the classroom kitchens. It also enables them to work with chefs from various backgrounds around the world. The Malaysian Culinary Team would also like to thank Prof Marcus Stephenson - Dean of the School of Hospitality, Sunway University, and Professional Culinaire Association (PCA) for this opportunity”.
The chef teaching fellows are happy with the discipline, commitment, and passion exhibited by the team. As the team now is gearing towards the IKA/ Culinary Olympics 2020, the chef teaching fellows hope that team could excel further and bring pride to Malaysia as “fortune favours the prepared mind”.