National juniors in culinary Olympics

One for the album as Lee (in red), Chef Wan (in batik) and team captain Tay (to the right of Chef Wan) with the Malaysian Junior Culinary Team at the send-off party.

SUNWAY University threw a send-off party for the Malaysia Junior National Culinary Team who flew to the 25th IKA/Culinary Olympics at Stuttgart, Germany on Friday.

The team comprises Sunway University School of Hospitality students Alicia Tay, 23, Pang Jin Yong, 23, Amanda Cheah, 20, Tsen Jun Yan, 20 and Ashraf Ravi, 20, as well as Ilya Dayana, 25 from Kolej Yayasan Pahang.

The IKA/Culinary Olympics, which will be held from Feb 14 to 19, is the world’s oldest and largest international culinary art exhibition and this year’s event is anticipated to see over 2,000 chefs from more than 60 nations participating in the culinary competitions.

The Malaysia Junior Culinary Team had earlier won gold at the Shanghai International Young Chefs Cup (IYCC), which is part of the 2019 FHC China International Culinary Arts Competition, triumphing over teams from 12 countries. That competition saw over 600 participants competed in over 25 categories.

The national team had clinched the gold with “Rasa-Rasa Malaysia” dishes, featuring local flavours and spices which include tamarind, lemongrass, galangal, citrus leaves, ginger torch flower and other varieties of Malaysian traditional salad vegetables (ulam).

Among the guests at the send-off party were celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, chef Pele Kuah Choon Liang, L’nop Private Chef & Catering KL and Professional Culinaire Association vice-president (sponsorship) chef Hossein Karimi, Sunway University vice-chancellor Prof Graeme Wilkinson, School of Hospitality dean Prof Marcus Stephenson and Sunway Education Group CEO Elizabeth Lee.

“It is not just about winning. What you want to ultimately experience is the opportunity to be among the best of the best and be in the midst of the many talented people from around the world.

“We are very proud of you. We wish you the best of luck, ” said Chef Wan when advising the team.

Team captain Alicia Tay said she was grateful for the support from Sunway University, the many individual sponsors and Malaysian companies who have supported the team’s endeavour by sponsoring raw materials, utensils as well as donated funds to make the team’s dream to compete in the prestigious competition a reality.

“We have been training long and hard from as early as 7am each day till late at night at Sunway University for two months.

“We will be bringing a whole lot of our local spices, vegetables, fruits and other ingredients, and a cargo of pots, pans and glassware.

“My team and I would like to specially thank Sunway University for their enormous encouragement in terms of funding and moral support, ” she said.

Lee said that it was heartening to see the team had trained exceptionally hard.

“We are delighted to see these young talents take a bold step to showcase Malaysia’s unique culinary treasures and talent to the world.

“We have a lot of faith in the Malaysia Junior Culinary Team, seeing how dedicated they are to learning every day and we shall wait for them to return home victorious, ” she said.

The team is accompanied by Sunway University’s School of Hospitality teaching fellows Chef Soon Pau Voon (Team Coach), chef Lee Han Ying, chef Chong Wei Tzeh and its Head Chef and Teaching Fellow Prof chef Patrick Siau and chef Fhaizal Mustafa, head chef of Red Bean Bag, on the trip to Stuttgart.

Siau led the Malaysia National Pastry team as the coach to win first place at the World Pastry Cup held in Lyon last year.

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