National youth culinary team win on world stage

(From left) IKA/Culinary Olympics 2020 jury president and chair Chef Frank Widmann, chief coach Soon, Amirul, Tsen, Pang, Tay, Cheah, Ilya and German Chefs Association president Chef Richard Beck on stage after being announced as the gold medal winners. — photo courtesy of TC Lum

THE Malaysia National Youth Culinary Team has been ranked sixth in the world at the 25th IKA/Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, Germany.

It also won a gold medal for the “Restaurant of the Nations” category as well as a silver medal for the “IKA Buffet” category.

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

This is Malaysia’s first participation in the Junior Team category and they won the inaugural gold medal.

In 1988, the Malaysia Senior Team won a gold medal.

The IKA/Culinary Olympics, which was held from Feb 14 to 19, is the world’s oldest and largest international culinary art exhibition.

Over 2,000 chefs from more than 60 nations participated in the culinary competitions.

The IKA/Culinary Olympics is hosted by the German Chefs Association.

The national youth culinary team showed their culinary prowess and clinched the medals by showcasing Malaysian cuisine and the best of Malaysian flavours with “Rasa-Rasa Malaysia”, for both categories.

The team prepared a warm trout and seafood mousseline with laksa sauce, lentil and trout fritters, and pickled salad with puffed tofu.

The team’s main course was to prepare a coriander and ginger-torch flower crusted chicken with tamarind sauce, five-spice roll, chicken ravioli, stuffed cabbage, squash puree and market vegetables.

For dessert, the team presented chocolate mousse with honey madeleine, hazelnut cake, passion fruit-banana compote, yuzu sauce and whipped ganache.

Tay who is team captain said: “We are exceptionally grateful for the support from Sunway University, the many individual sponsors and corporate partners.”

“They have supported our hopes and dreams for Malaysia by sponsoring raw materials, utensils as well as donated funds to make the team’s dream to compete in the prestigious competition a reality.

“Our win is a win for Malaysia!” she added.

Sunway University School of Hospitality teaching fellow Chef Soon Pau Voon who is also the team coach, said competing in the IKA/Culinary Olympics gives an opportunity for the young chefs to enhance their learning experience beyond the doors of their kitchen.

“We are proud to present our dishes, which highlight the tapestry of flavours of our Malaysian cuisine,” he added.

Sunway Education Group CEO Elizabeth Lee said the win was a coup for Malaysia’s culinary scene.

“The team’s win, which follows the Malaysia National Pastry team’s win at the World Pastry Cup held in Lyon last year, signals to the world that Malaysia is at the forefront of the culinary scene.

“It’s a coup for all of us Malaysians who take immense pride in our unique culinary heritage.

“We are incredibly proud of our team.

“We hope that all young aspiring chefs are inspired by their win,” she said.

The team was also mentored and coached by Sunway University School of Hospitality teaching fellows Chef Lee Han Ying, Chef Chong Wei Tzeh and its Head Chef and teaching fellow Prof Chef Patrick Siau, who led the Malaysia National Pastry team to victory as the coach.

Malaysia Professional Culinaire Association vice president Chef Pele Kuah, Red Bean Bag head chef Muhd Fhaizal Mustafa and Sunway University alumni chef Queeny Cheong also mentored the national youth culinary team this year.

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