Malaysia is set to enter the history books again as the Gourmand World Media Awards 2005, held for the past 10 years in Europe, moves to KL.
Known as the “Oscars” for those in the culinary publication and media industry, it will be held in Kuala Lumpur at the Palace of The Golden Horses from May 17 to May 21. The awards honour those who “cook with words”.
It will have over 800 participants comprising culinary professionals, celebrities, chefs, cookbook authors, publishers, TV stars and food critics.
From May 12 to 16, Malaysia will host 200 international celebrity chefs, and foreign and local media, in Langkawi, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur in a pre-event programme called “Showcase Malaysia”.
The four-day conference will include Food Crawls by FriedChillies.com, Daily KL Tours, “Makan- Makan” and Chef Wan’s Market Tour.
Le Cordon Bleu’s top chefs and Malaysia’s favourite chefs, Chef Wan, Florence Tan, Celine Marbeck and Chef Shukri will demonstrate their culinary skills through masterclasses.
Other activities include The Perak Royalty Adat Santapan, Minangkabau Cultural Exhibition, Baba Nyonya Cultural Exhibition, the Gourmand World Cookbook Library and Gourmand Cooking & Travel Multimedia Exhibit.
Two celebrity chefs will also be in KL – Annabel Langbein whose books have sold over a million copies, and Bob Blumer, host of Surreal Gourmet on Discovery Channel.
The closest Langbein has ever been to Malaysia is a few quick stopovers in Singapore over the years.
“I have a vivid memory of my first stopover in Singapore,” she says. “I was 17 and travelling with my mother. We visited all these wonderful street stalls and I had my first taste of tender chicken “satay” with a rich spicy peanut sauce, a wonderful laksa, and amazing noodle dishes.
“It felt so exotic. One of my good friends is Malaysian and has shared with me her passion for the wonderful Nyonya cuisine, ‘’ Langbein adds.
Like most first-time visitors to Malaysia, Langbein has heard that Malaysians are warm and friendly. She wants to discover the diversity of Malaysian cooking and culture. Annabel is also looking forward to visiting our wet markets.
Blumer, however, is no stranger to the region. His favourite form of travel is on his bike and over the past five years he has cycled across northern Thailand and the south island of New Zealand.
Malaysian hawkers have a special place in his heart. “I am very excited about tasting the food – especially the street food,” Blumer says.
“I love to watch chefs cook in street stalls. They are so resourceful with so few tools. It is a great reminder that great food is about the ingredients, not the kitchen tools.”
Cooking is like art. He tells us that probably no one has had more influence on his cooking than Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte (1898 – 1967).
His idea of a dream dinner is having his guilty pleasure, French fries (invented by the Belgians ironically), prepared by Rene Magritte, accompanied by conversation about Magritte's paintings and his life in the centre of the surrealist movement.
Blumer tells us that he would like nothing better than to have Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali, Nigella Lawson and Chef Wan for dinner – all at the same table
Other big names in town will include Harumi Kurihara, the Martha Stewart of Japan; Fatéma Hal, author, restaurateur and a specialist in Moroccan cuisine; Yvan Cadiou, the celebrity French television star; and Chef Jean-Paul Bondoux of South America. W
o The registration fee is RM1,400 per person and RM1,200 for academic or government bodies. The fee includes masterclass sessions, trade seminars and dinners. For more information, visit www.gourmandawards.com or call (03) 6203 3301/9204/9242.