Group photo after an eventful day.
Medals & certificates from the International Culinary Challenge 2019.
Hana Aminath posing with her Silver Medal.
Tricia Pang Huey Yeeng receiving her Bronze Medal during the daily awards ceremony.
By Faresa Azmi
The biggest annual food and hospitality event in Maldives, the Hotel Asia Exhibition & International Culinary Challenge 2019 held recently from October 6th to 9th 2019 at Dharubaaruge in the capital of Malé. The 15th edition of the exhibition organized by the Maldives Exhibition and Conference Service (MECS) in association with the Lankan Exhibition and Conference Services (LECS) and Indian Exhibition and Conference Services (IECS) saw an increased numbers of visitors, exhibitors and competitors for the culinary challenge.
Tricia Pang Huey Yeeng and Hana Aminath, 2nd & 3rd year students from the Bachelor of Culinary Management (Hons) bagged notable awards in the individual ‘Live Hot Cooking Challenge’ which saw over 450 Chefs competing under 22 different categories.
Chef Johan Sebastian-Chee who trained both students has been following the International Culinary Challenge developments and his main reaction has been one of excitement.
“It’s competitive and it’s going to stir things up a lot, in a great way, especially raising standards of the International Culinary Challenge,” he said. “It was a nerve wracking to all of us especially when there were sudden changes to the duration of the competition due to unforeseen circumstances which made it even more challenging. “It has been interesting and exciting as it’s a great mix of industry professionals and experienced chefs which was challenging for my students.”
According to Tricia Pang Huey Yeeng, the ups and downs during the competition was a new experience for them. “It’s still so surreal Hana and I have won. We are shocked but so happy with the results. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to do this with, and I’m so proud of what we have achieved together and what we will achieve in the future,” expressed her, a bronze award winner.
“To all the amazingly talented people I’ve met during this incredible experience and to everyone involved with this competition, I just wanted to say a massive thank you for providing me with one of the best experiences of my life so far. It’s been incredible from start to finish,” commented Hana Aminath, silver medal winner.
“Chef Johan especially values the fact that students get to learn so much more in comparison to the classroom where the feedback from the judges & the discussion with the rest of the competitors provides a whole new wealth of knowledge, insights & bringing the level of competitive cooking to a higher level. “As a student in culinary, I like that there are no secrets,” she explained. “My partner and I were very proud of what we made.”
Chef Johan Sebastian- Chee said it is important for the students to be exposed to the work of industry professionals, which sets a higher benchmark for education institutes to produce consistent graduates that meets the demands of the industry. Chef Johan also highlighted the team have been practicing for months prior to the competition and what they achieved in the end is “incredible” as they are still students.
Globally recognized as a World Chefs competition and endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), the Hotel Asia Exhibition & International Culinary Challenge was an excellent opportunity for not only industry professionals but also culinary students to showcase what they have learned by pitting their culinary skills against industry professionals.