So I guess a lot of you have already found out that I have made it to the Top 5 of The R.AGE Food Fight, a cooking/hosting competition run by The Star’s R.AGE to look for the next Malaysian Food Celebrity. Many thanks to this video (and everyone who contributed to it). You can read more about the competition here too and check out the rest of the finalists. Anyway, last weekend 5 of us got together for a series of workshops and boy was a ball it was!
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we rocked up to Le Cordon Bleu (gasp) at 8am, me having just returned from a gig in Genting early morning. The first workshop we had Chef Rodolphe Onno from LCB, and we were given 3 hours to cook our competition dish. There is only one theme for the dish: we have to use Palm oil. So as it turned out, we had a nice mix of dishes, you’ll see in a minute.
The dish I cooked was something I’ve done before in another competition (almost the same but I changed the protein), but I think the stress must have gotten to me (that and me being slightly out of practise with pastry work) and 3 of the components went wrong that day (that’s almost the whole dish). Hopefully during the final I can be a little more normal. Anyway, I shall present to you:
Chef Rodolphe helped me with my presentation, of course. Luckily despite all the disasters I still managed to plate the complete dish up.
Lucky for us, we also got to taste everyone else’s food. Fellow Sarawakian, Ahong’s specialty is chicken, and this dish had me going back for more. The chicken is juicy as heck, and the coconut gravy totally made my skirt fly up (well, I didn’t get the memo about the dress code so I turned up in a dress…). The long beans provided a nice crunch and I gobbled that up too. Yum. Yum. Yum. Well, Ahong runs a stall at a food court, so we should not expect anything less.
Nuril also has a firm culinary background, and he runs his family business (Jawi House) in Georgetown, so I know he will impress. This is such a brilliant dish. Let’s start with the Green sauce, it’s localised pesto with lovely herbaceous note, I’d happily douse that on all my food (maybe not dessert, but you never know). The fish is lovely soft, and even though I’m not a fan of otak-otak this tasted good to me. My favourite is that fern salad packing plenty of tang and crunch factor.
Kuching’s Sweet Heart Ashley made a gorgeous starter. Basil ice cream? That’s rather groundbreaking and fine-dining ish I love it. I don’t think I’ve ever had watermelon paired with tuna before, tasted quite refreshing. Unfortunately by the time we got to taste it the ice cream melted already, but I could still get the flavours and it’s actually quite amazing. Definitely something I’d order in a restaurant.
Finally we also had a dessert dish, made by Purple/Blue haired Li-Anne. It was cute watching Li-Anne breaking down a whole pumpkin (much better than breaking down a pineapple I think). She also made honeycomb to go with the cake (this girl has skills). The cake was on the browner side but still remained moist, I could really taste the pumpkin too. This is the kind of cake I wouldn’t mind having again. It was a shame though I didn’t taste the ice cream, I’m sure I’d love it since it’s Yoghurt. Once again another dish pretty enough to appear in a fine-dining restaurant. Well, she’s a food stylist, so making food look pretty is literally a piece of cake.
After tasting everyone’s food, we sat down with Chef Darren Chin (of the very successful, and VERY expensive Restaurant DC) to talk about ins and outs of the restaurant business. It was pretty informative, and useful for someone like me who has completely no idea about restaurant business, should I ever want to open one.
KY is also part of the judging panel, and he joined us to give us a quick talk on food blogging, which very quickly turned into a debate about Penang food (he’s from Penang and so is Nuril).
Another workshop-filled day to come and I’m really looking forward to meeting Chef Wan this weekend.
Wish me luck, will you?