A chef team representing Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre triumphed at the Food & Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge 2014, winning the Asian Pastry Cup over eight other national teams in Singapore.
The Centre’s Chef de Partie Tay Chee Siang and his teammates from the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia, Pastry Chef Tan Wei Loon and Executive Pastry Chef Chiam Ko Seen who was also team captain, made Malaysia proud when their creativity and skills in pastry art trumped the competition.
In the allotted eight hours, the youth chefs prepared two 1 kilogram chocolate cakes, 20 plated desserts, one sugar showpiece and their pièce de résistance, a chocolate showpiece themed ‘Pandora Cage’ to win the judges’ votes and bring home not just the Asian Pastry Chef title but also the Best Plated Dessert award.
A take on Pinocchio who was locked in a cage by a bad circus boss and hopes someone will set him free and take him back to his happy life, Chef Tay explained ‘Pandora Cage’ represented Pinocchio, the white chocolate shell; the cage, the tasting panel; the person who opens the cage, and happiness is after tasting the dessert!
“This is because, besides good flavor, emotional factors such as curiosity, surprise and happiness are important to driving customer satisfaction for a dessert. And in ‘Pandora Cage’, the mystery is only unveiled when the shell in opened,” added Tay.
The Asian Pastry Cup served as the official competition to pre-select four Asian teams for the World Pastry Cup 2015 to be held in Lyon, France.
For Chef Tay, the Asian Pastry Cup win adds another notch to his belt. He took gold in the Cold Show category and silver in the Chocolate Showpiece and Dessert Challenge categories at the much-coveted Salon Culinaire Mondial 2013 and was part of the Centre’s ‘Most Outstanding Team in Culinary’ culinary team at the bi-annual Culinaire Malaysia 2013.
“I’m so proud to be able to play a part in bringing home the Asian Pastry Cup and honored to be able to represent Asia in Lyon next year. Yes, it means more hard work, but I’m ready for it and looking forward to the challenge,” beamed Tay.
In the quadrennial National Team Challenge, which returned to the Food & Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge this year, Malaysia took on nine international teams to emerge 2nd runner-up for Pastry Art (National Cold Display) with a 100 percent chocolate showpiece of edible kitchen utensils titled ‘Culinary Revolution’ while their effort in the Hot Cooking Category, a three-course European-themed entry with a Malaysian twist titled ‘Culinary Evolution,’ won bronze. Lead and captained by the Centre’s Senior Sous Chef, Mohd Nor Musa, the six-man senior team infused local flavors and ingredients, such as lemongrass, coconut and pandan to enhance their culinary presentations. The team was also awarded silver in the Cold Display category.
According to Chef Chern Chee Hong, president of Chefs Association Malaysia (CAM), the National Team Challenge provided an excellent occasion for the team to prepare for the Culinary World Cup 2014 which will be held from 20-28 November in Luxembourg.
The 15-strong national team’s participation in FCC 2014 is under the auspices of CAM and the Youth Chef Club Malaysia (YCCM).