EVEN if you are not a food enthusiast, it would have been worth checking out the 5th Penang Chefs Challenge 2012, which has just got under way at the Straits Quay in Tanjung Tokong, Penang.
Organised by Chefs Association of Malaysia (Penang Chapter), the biannual event introduced for the first time the Greenhorn Challenge featuring individual food displays in Pastry, Carving and Hot Cooking for students from institutes of higher learning.
Day one of the competition also saw the participation of aspiring and professional chefs around the globe from as far as Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
Also featured in this year’s competition are the Malaysian Hoteliers Association Penang Chapter Hospitality Challenge and the Lighthouse Coffee Barista Championship.
Present was well-known culinary teacher and cookbook author Amy Beh, who was the judge for the Greenhorn Challenge.
She said the event was a good exposure for those who want to venture into the culinary world.
“This event gives young participants the exposure and experience they need," she said.
Organising chairman Peter Chan Weng Seng said the move to add a new challenge this year was solely for enterprising youngsters.
“It’s a platform to unearth potential chefs from the junior ranks,’’ he said.
State Youth and Sports, Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi, who graced the event, said that youths would benefit the most in this inaugural challenge.
She also said that Penang had the most number of skilled chefs working in various hotels and eateries overseas, approximately 800 chefs each year.
“This in a way, would help place our country in the international map,” she said.
Food writer and Star 2 columnist Helen Ong, who is one of the 30 judges for this year’s competition, described the battle as one of the toughest in Asia.
“It’s a good chance for the youngsters to put their knowledge to test," she said.
Among the winners yesterday were Sutanit Kaewkao (Thailand Culinary Academy) in the Academy Apprentice One Three-Tier Decora-ted Dummy Wedding Cake category, Surakit Khemkeaw (Thailand Culinary Academy) and Azureen Asmie (Berjaya University College) as joint-winners in the Apprentice Main Course (Poultry) category and Zaintiar Desu Renaldi who won the Bartender’s Competition.
The three-day challenge continues today where the main highlights would be the qualifiers and quarter finals for the professional chefs challenge.