WITH international borders remaining closed for the foreseeable future, a group of Malaysian chefs decided to put their cooking skills to good use in an effort to promote local food and ingredients online.
Top Malaysian chefs in different parts of the world came together to hold a series of global live cooking demonstrations and food tasting sessions over a four-day period.
The event was a partnership between the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (Mafi) and Masters of Malaysian Cuisine (MOMC).
These exclusive events were held in five locations, namely Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Australia (Sydney), the UAE (Dubai), the United Kingdom and South Africa, with a total of eight live cooking demonstrations.
The event featured top Malaysian cuisine experts – Johari Edrus, Zaleha Olpin, Jackie M, Dave Murugaya, Bob Adnin, Rene Juefri, Debbie Teoh and guest chef Liam Ghani – who each put the spotlight on a particular dish or ingredient.
The demonstrations were a combination of both physical and virtual, which were simulcast across MOMC and Mafi platforms.
In Kuala Lumpur, four of the chefs gathered at Kontiki Restaurant of The Federal Kuala Lumpur, where a limited number of people were invited to witness the sessions.
YouTube sensation and vegan chef Dave said the aim of the event was to highlight the diversity and quality of Malaysian products available to a worldwide market.
“With the MOMC, we had already been sharing our own unique take on Malaysian dishes to a global audience on various platforms.
“This event allowed us to specifically highlight each chef’s talent as well as raise awareness of the wide and varied range of Malaysian ingredients available globally, ” he said.
Dave cooked up a vegetarian take on the Indian Chettinad dish, using lion’s mane mushroom as a replacement for chicken.
Cookbook author Teoh, also known as Queen of Nyonya cuisine, introduced audiences to the little-known Ayam Buah Keluak (Spicy Chicken with Pangium Edule) and Bakwan Kepiting (Crab Meatball Soup).
“These are dishes that were a must-have at the festive table or during auspicious occasions.
“There are not many places that serve these dishes as they are labour-intensive, which is why I have chosen to feature them this time, ” she said.
Teoh also noted the rising interest in traditional Nyonya dishes and kuih, especially among younger Malaysians.
“It is heartening to see them taking an interest in these old dishes and attempting to cook them on their own.”
Meanwhile, Professional Culinaire Association president chef Bob Adnin hoped that these types of events would inspire people to use more Malaysian ingredients and products.
“We have a bounty of spices and herbs that we can utilise using modern cooking techniques.
“During our online sessions, we also try to give alternatives to ingredients, so that the recipes are accessible to more people, ” said Bob, who cooked Kerutuk Itik Salai (Slow-cooked Smoked Duck in a Richly Spiced Coconut Gravy).
For details on the restaurant, visit fhihotels.com and for more videos, visit www.malaysianchefs.com.