The Malaysia National Youth Culinary Team comprising Sunway University School of Hospitality students Alicia Tay (23), Pang Jin Yong (23), Amanda Cheah (20), Tsen Jun Yan (20) and Amirul Ashraf (20), and Ilya Dayana (25) from Kolej Yayasan Pahang, brought home a gold medal for the “Restaurant of the Nations” category and a silver medal for the “IKA Buffet” category recently.
This is Malaysia’s first participation in the Junior Team category and these enthusiastic yet brilliant youths managed to win the inaugural gold medal. The Junior National Team of Malaysia’s winnings also placed them in the running to be the top six teams in the world (pending the release of full remarks by IKA). This truly is an achievement, not only for the participating students but also Malaysia. Winning the gold medal at the Culinary Olympics was only etched in the history of year 1988 by the Malaysian National (Senior) Team.
The Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) or commonly known as the Culinary Olympics held from 14 to 19 February, is the world’s oldest and largest international culinary art exhibition. The event saw over 2,000 chefs from more than 60 nations participating in the culinary competitions. The IKA/Culinary Olympics is hosted by the German Chefs’ Association, Verband der Köche Deutschlands e.V. (VKD).
Malaysia’s national team had clinched the medals by showcasing the best of Malaysian flavours, featuring “Rasa-Rasa Malaysia” or “a taste of Malaysia” for the categories of the “Restaurant of the Nations” and the “IKA Buffet”. The team prepared warm trout and seafood mousseline with “laksa” sauce, lentil and trout fritters, and pickled salad with puffed tofu. The main course prepared 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.
The Team Captain, Young Chef Alicia Tay said, “We are exceptionally grateful for the support from Sunway University, the many individual sponsors, and corporate partners who have supported our hopes and dreams to represent 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!”
Sunway University’s School of Hospitality Teaching Fellow Chef Soon Pau Voon who is also the Team Coach further highlighted that, “Competing in the IKA / Culinary Olympics gives an opportunity for the young chefs to enhance their learning experience beyond the kitchen. We are proud to present our dishes which highlights the tapestry of flavours of our Malaysian cuisine.”
Sunway Education Group CEO Dr Elizabeth Lee said that the win was a coup for Malaysia’s culinary scene. “The team’s win, which follows 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 and we hope to see all the young aspiring chefs be inspired by their win!”
The team was mentored and coached by Sunway University’s School of Hospitality teaching fellows Chef Soon Pau Voon (Team Coach), Chef Lee Han Ying, Chef Chong Wei Tzeh, and Practice Professor of Culinary Arts Professor Chef Patrick Siau, who led the Malaysia National Pastry team as the Coach to win first place at World Pastry Cup (Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie) held in Lyon last year. In addition, Malaysia Professional Culinaire Association (PCA) Deputy President Chef Pele Kuah, Head Chef of Read Bean Bag Chef Muhd Fhaizal Mustafa, and Sunway University Alumni Chef Queeny Cheong also mentored the team to bringing Malaysia towards greater heights!