The KDU Education Group, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year, continues to bask in the limelight following the garnering of a slew of awards by KDU Penang's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at the recent Battle of the Chefs 2013, held from the 12th to 14th June 2013, at the Straits Quay Convention Centre in Penang. The awards are a clear validation of the School's sound reputation for grooming professional chefs.
KDU Penang's Celebrity Chef Lecturer, Chef Darren Tan, who is also the Organising Chairman of the Battle Of The Chefs 201 that was sponsored by The Chef Association of Malaysia, Penang Chapter believes that the staging of a national level culinary competition, such as this, is the correct platform to help chefs from the northern region gain more exposure and experience in order to compete at international culinary events. He was pleased that KDU Penang's Chef Team won many awards despite the tougher standards set in this year's competition that drew more than 850 participants.
The KDU Penang's Chef Team comprised 15 students - Norfirdawati bt Ramli, Teoh Ezen, Joash Tan Ensong, Ong Meng Ooi, Waymann Cheong, Goh Wei Zhi, Valeska, Nicholas Joon Yoon Le, Loh Chun Wei, Neoh Sze Ting, Yip Kei Fong, Nurul Hidayah bt Mohd Nassir, Adam Wiphatprasit, Lee Wen Jun and Nur Shafa Suhaili bt Noor Azman - and 2 lecturers, Mr. Yuzrem Ezri b. Mohd Yunus and Mr. Aravinthan Shanmugam. The team did KDU Penang proud by winning 1 gold medal, 5 silver medals, 9 bronze medals, 11 diplomas and a certificate.
The KDU Chef Team were both excited and thrilled to present their new culinary creations before an international panel of judges from countries, that include the United States of America, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia. The competition proved to be an eye opener for our students, as the experience and exposure they gained will serve them well when competing at international competitions in the future.
One of the bronze medal winners, Ong Meng Ooi said that although this was his second Battle of the Chefs, he felt the pressure this time as the cooking had to be done in front of a huge crowd. He was, however, gratified that his lecturer, Chef Faizal, played a big part in helping him prepare for the competition, and that KDU Penang's School of Culinary Art had complete in-house facilities him to unleash his potential.
Norfirdawati binti Ramli, 28, who won a gold medal in the Malay traditional ethnic Ketupat & Rendang Challenge category, said she had prepared the dishes at least 10 times prior to the competition, and every time she received valuable feedback from her Chef lecturers on improving further. As a first-time participant, Norfirdawati was surprised by her victory, as she did not feel confident competing against many experienced chefs. Said Norfirdawati, "I did not expect to win and I could not believe it when my lecturers told me that I had actually won. I was on cloud nine thereafter, even now! I guess I have taken another big step closer to my dream of becoming a Master Chef". Norfirdawati's achievement is also extra special considering that she made the decision to return to college only last year after getting married and delivering a baby 7 years ago. She quipped, "After such a long time of a being house wife, I thought it would be hard for me to resume studies but I soon realised that studying in KDU Penang was so exciting and that learning together with a bunch of teenagers has certainly made me feel younger".
According to Miss Cindy Loh, KDU Penang's Academic Head for the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, who was brimming with pride about her students' accomplishments, "I am impressed with their great performance especially those who had no prior culinary competition experience. It certainly reflects the enormous effort that the students have put into preparing for the competition under the care, dedication and guidance of our chef lecturers."
KDU Penang's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts takes great pride in producing award-winning chefs for the perpetually growing culinary industry. Master and celebrity chef lecturers train our students in specially designed 5-star kitchens. Interested in becoming Malaysia's next big chef? Come, chat with us at our KDU Open Day on the 3rd and 4th of August 2013.