Recently, I was invited to KDU Penang Campus to judge their annual KDU Power Chef Competition that was held on the 13th of April 2013. It was their 6th instalment, and it saw a total of 65 teams from 21 schools from secondary/high schools from Penang putting their culinary skills to the test, competing for the right be called champion and to have their school crest place on the KDU Power Chef Challenge Shield.
Observing, tasting, judging, criticizing and correcting is part and parcel of our line of work, as these are some of the responsibilities that we shoulder in the face of restructuring and rescuing restaurants that wants to be helped and survive the harsh world of the food and beverage industry. But this time round, it was more of imparting of skills and motivating the young aspiring student who may one day yet become a well known chef that will make Malaysia proud in the professional chef circuit.
There are not many opportunities around for young talents to better themselves and test their skills through competitive challenges, the annual KDU Power Chef competition provides a platform for both. To me winning is not everything, what matters the most is the experience, the opportunity to pick-up new skills and polish what have been thought in the past, and learning the importance of teamwork and time management. In every kitchen, timing plays a crucial part in the preparation, cooking and serving of any dish, and thus teamwork comes to play. Delegating or sharing different of work alleviates the constraint that time has on the production of any dish from raw to plate.
It was an honor to be part of the judging team that consists of culinary experts and critique that include (from left) Chef Mitchell Stewart, Chef Azhar, Chef Murugan, Chef Albert Goh and me the only food gastronomist cum conservationist. Finding the top three winners for this year's competition was not an easy task for the faint hearted.
But at the end of the day we still have to find the top three who have a better grasp of the cooking skills to create the dish that captured our attention. The top three teams in this year’s KDU Power Chef competition are:
Team: SMKTK 1
School: SMK Telok Kumbar
Team No: 18
Name: Siti Bur Aainaa Bt Johari/ Siti Zulaikha Bt Razak
1st runner up:
Team Name: Lemon Grass
School: SMK Penanti
Team No: 27
Name: Nor Hazwati Bt Riduan/Norhaslina Bt Kasim
2nd runner up:
Team: Appetizing Appetizer
School: SMJK Chung Ling
Team No: 53
Name: Lim Zhi Han/Lim Ywe Chun