By UOW Malaysia KDU
All good things come in threes! This definitely rings true for our talented culinary students from the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts (SHTCA) at UOW Malaysia KDU Penang who managed to bring home not only one but a whopping three silver and three bronze medals from the FHC China International Culinary Arts Young Chef Online Competition 2021, held on 25 October 2021.
This international online competition was set up as part of the 23rd FHC China International Culinary Arts Competition and organized together with the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) to provide a new competition platform for young chefs from all around the world to showcase their talent and creativity in an international arena. The annual FHC China International Culinary Arts Competition is the only officially certified International Level-A Culinary Competition by WACS in China.
The six winners, comprising of Diploma in Professional Chef Training students Jasmine Peh Shien Min, Ong Zee Wei, Andy Ling Soon Teck, Dayron Ooi Chen Wei and Wong Min How, and the BA (Hons) in International Culinary Arts student Jackson Cheung Jie Sheng, were led to their success by culinary lecturer,
The six winners, comprising of Diploma in Professional Chef Training students Jasmine Peh Shien Min, Ong Zee Wei, Andy Ling Soon Teck, Dayron Ooi Chen Wei and Wong Min How, and the BA (Hons) in International Culinary Arts student Jackson Cheung Jie Sheng, were led to their success by culinary lecturer, Chef Chuah Lay Yen and senior lecturer, Chef Darren Tan who provided consultation and support every step of the way.
The participants had to produce two dishes in under 90 minutes – a seafood appetizer followed by a main course and were judged by two panels of WACS-certified judges. The first panel of judges, which included Chef Audee Cheah, President of the Penang Chefs Association; as well as Chef Chern Chee Hoong, Chef Peter Chan Weng Seng and Chef Jason Mason, who were all on-site to judge the preparation of the dishes and perform a taste test; while the second panel was based in China and contributed to the scores for overall presentation and recipe.
Jasmine Peh clinched the silver medal by showcasing the skills she had learned from her culinary course and produced two stunning dishes – the Breaded Seafood Prawn Roll and Pan-seared Scallop with Tomato Salsa, and Pan-seared Beef with Beef Jus, Mini Beef Vol-au-vent, accompanied with Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Mixed Vegetables. When asked about her biggest challenge, Jasmine spoke about the difficulty in producing the perfect vol-au-vent, a light and flaky pastry shell that she featured in her main course. “Practice definitely makes perfect as I would burn my vol-au-vents during practice sessions. Eventually, I learned to control the temperature and I’m glad that it came out perfectly during the competition.”
The second silver medal was won by Ong Zee Wei with her Breaded Salmon Ball with Wasabi Mayo, Prawn Salad and Mini Salad with Citrus Dressing that brought together a variety of textures with a refreshing burst of citrus notes to stimulate the palate. She also attempted to elevate the average chicken by presenting her Stuffed Chicken Roulade with Red Wine Sauce, accompanied with Roasted Potatoes and Mixed Sautéed Vegetables that clearly won over the judges.
Jackson Cheung brought home the third silver medal with a modern take on Asian flavours for his appetizer course by presenting his Thai-style Squid Salad, and Crab and Potato Croquette with Mentaiko Mayo. He also incorporated sous vide, an innovative cooking technique, in his main course that featured Australian Ribeye that was served with a beef dumpling, braised potato, sautéed vegetables, pumpkin puree and a rich port wine reduction.
Bronze medallist, Andy Ling wowed the judges with his intricate plating of his Hokkaido Scallop with Kombu Capellini and Grilled Australian Lamb Loin with Raspberry Sauce, which was cooked to the perfect medium doneness. He attributed his achievement to the strong foundation that his culinary diploma has helped build and was elated when he received news of his win.
Another young chef, Dayron Ooi, attained more than just a bronze medal from his victory. “I didn’t expect to win, so I was really excited when I got the news. It has definitely given me a confidence boost and motivated me to continue pursuing the culinary pathway. I know I still have a long way to go but this is a great start.” Dayron’s Deep-fried Prawn wrapped with Capellini and served with Avocado Mango Salad featured a succulent prawn encased in a crispy pasta cocoon. For his main course, he gave the classic ribeye steak a modern twist with the sous vide technique and served it with an exquisite red wine sauce.
Wong Min How bagged the final bronze medal with his island-inspired appetizer and Asian-Western fusion entrée. His Seafood Mousse served with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette and Crispy Salmon Ball was delicately presented to resemble a floating island on the plate. He also chose a tangy orange sauce to pair perfectly with his Pan-seared Stuffed Duck Breast for the main course category.
Chef Chuah Lay Yen expressed her pride in her students for their achievement. “Succeeding in culinary competitions require a high level of discipline, teamwork and effort, and I’m very happy that their hard work paid off. They worked tirelessly in preparation for the competition, which included staying back after classes for extra practice, making continuous improvements on their dishes and putting in the effort to source for the right ingredients. I really applaud their determination and positive attitude.”
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