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Tuesday February 1, 2011

Restaurant owner conferred datukship

MALACCA: Owner of the Malaysian restaurant in New York that won the prestigious Michelin Star, has been made a Datuk by his home state Malacca.

On Sunday, Michael Bong received the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM), which carries the title Datuk, from the Yang Dipertua Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob at Seri Negeri in Ayer Keroh.

Bong, who flew from New York to receive the award, said he was pleasantly surprised when he was informed of the award by the Governor’s office.

Honoured: Datuk Michael Bong is congratulated by the Tun Khalil after receiving his datukship

“It is recognition by the state and the Government for my efforts in promoting Malaysian food as well as Malaysia and Malacca in New York and the United States,” he said.

He said after his restaurant Laut won the award and was listed in the 2011 Michelin Guide for New York City Restaurants, there was a sudden interest in Malaysian cuisine.

“Not only do we have more customers but also other Malaysian restaurants have been drawing in people wanting to taste something different.

“It just shows that there is a market out there for Malaysian cusine and we should continue with our promotions,” he said.

Laut is located near Union Square in New York and is believed to be the first Malaysian restaurant serving Malaysian cuisine to receive this award.

Bong said the award also meant an added responsibilty as he would have to re-double his efforts to promote Malaysian food and Malaysia overseas.

“While the opportunity is there, we should make full use of it,” he said.

He will also to be doing more to promote Malacca and its cuisine.

Last year Khalid presented Bong Malacca’s Master Chef award.

Bong who has been in the New York for more than 20 years, has made a name for himself in the restaurant business. Besides Laut, he and his wife Kathy also run the highly successful Japanese restaurant, Mizu Sushi.

Being a recipient of one Michelin star, a huge culinary honour that means that Laut is among the best in its city and also in the world.

It is a mark of consistent excellence across all categories and it is based solely on the quality of the food.

The Michelin guide has become an international benchmark in gourmet dining. Representing 23 countries and three continents, the collection of 26 Michelin guides includes more than 45,000 addresses.

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