By GEETHA KRISHNANgeetha@thestar.com.myPhotos by SAMUEL ONG
WHAT began as a move to inject more life into Kuala Lumpur’s fine dining scene has transformed into a gourmet festival capable of garnering international acclaim.
When the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) kicked off in 2001, there were only 13 participating restaurants due to locals’ penchant for hawker fare.
The number of participants has grown to 30 this year with chefs from hotels and restaurants eyeing the coveted trophy. Special MIGF menus will be available over the month.
The gala launch tonight at the One World Hotel in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, is also deemed a social event not to be missed and will be well-attended by socialites and gourmands.
MIGF organising chairman Datuk Steve Day said the festival was started with the aim of increasing the number of locals dining out at fine dining establishments not only for the food but also for the experience.
Speaking at the Malaysia Truly Asia Cuisine Showcase 2007 launched by Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Victor Wee yesterday in conjunction with the MIGF, Day stressed that fine dining also meant affordable.
“The local fine dining scene has undergone a tremendous transformation. Take a look and you’ll see that today’s restaurant scene is positively sizzling which means that fine dining can also be fun,” he said.
Talented chefs will also come under scrutiny during the festival. As an added feature, the challenge for creating a menu with global appeal was thrown at them via the showcase.
At the showcase, the festival’s master chefs were required to use their expertise to create a menu combining traditional ingredients and influences of Malaysian and Asian cuisine.
Each menu was accompanied by a story explaining the source of inspiration. The piece de resistance dishes were judged by a group of local and international chefs, food columnists and food experts.
The panel for this year includes award-winning Chef Cheong Liew, Emmanuel Stroobant - the Chef in Black, The Star food columnist Amy Beh and Flavours editor June Wong.
One chef will be crowned The Most Innovative Chef of the Malaysia Truly Asia Showcase 2007 at the MIGF Grand Finale Dinner on Dec 3 at the Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel in Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya.
The most creative menus and signature dishes will be announced and presented with Awards of Excellence on the same night.
Furthermore, all creations from the showcase will be included in a book published by festival partner, MalaysiaKitchen.