01 December 2008
Ling Jenn Joe may only be starting out in his culinary career but his skills in creatively transforming the subtle flavours of ordinary ingredients into gastronomic delights indicate that the 2008 winner of the prestigious Nestlé Golden Chef Hat Award already has the deft touches of a master.
Currently working under the tutelage of senior chefs in the kitchens of the Westin Kuala Lumpur, the commis chef creatively juxtaposed the vibrant hues of his ingredients with their subtle flavours to create a palate pleasing palette of colour and flavours that earned him the coveted award and a RM6,000.00 cash prize.
Participants of the 4th Nestlé Golden Chef Hat Award competition – which provides young Malaysian chefs with the unique opportunity to showcase their talents and creativity to top industry professionals – were required to create a menu comprising of an appetizer, soup, main course and dessert; and the young apprentice did not disappoint.
Ling began with a poached duck breast wrapped in spinach, prawn ravioli, a vegetable stew and zucchini puree which segued into a cream of mushroom soup with garlic espuma and herb croutons.
His main course consisted of perfectly roasted beef that was complemented by glazed asparagus, gratinated potatoes, beef juice and black pepper foam and the meal ended on a bouquet of flavours that were produced from a melange of warm chocolate cake with raspberry ice cream, apple compote and almond florentine.
The kitchens of Westin Kuala Lumpur also produced the first runner-up in the competition with another commis chef, Syamsul Bahari bin Horme. He received a cash prize of RM3,000.00 while the 2nd runner-up, Amir bin Hamzah, from Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur took home RM1,000.00 in cash. All the 26 participants who made it to the final stage of the competition took home a certificate of participation endorsed by the Malaysian Association of Hotels and Chefs Association of Malaysia.
“The Golden Chef Hat Award is one of the most prestigious culinary awards in Malaysia and winning it has really given me a boost of confidence in terms of my career and I’m glad I did not disappoint all the chefs who had been coaching me,” said Ling.
“I knew that the other top young chefs had amazing and inspiring dishes as well but I told myself that all that mattered would be to produce all the 4 courses in the way that I wanted it to be as we had identical ingredients to create our menus,” he said.
Ling said he knew he wanted to be a chef from the time he started helping his great grandmother in the kitchen cutting vegetables.
“I love the aroma of the various ingredients when they are cooked together and experimenting with new ingredients from all parts of the world,” added the excited young chef.
The Nestlé Golden Chef Hat Award was first launched in Malaysia in 1994 and this year saw a record number of participants, with over 270 entries from hotels, colleges, hospitals, catering companies and eateries from across Malaysia.
Presented by Nestlé Professional, the competition is open to Malaysian citizens below 28 years of age is organised jointly with the Chefs Association of Malaysia and Taylor’s College School of Hospitality and Tourism.
With a growing trend of out-of-home food and beverage consumption among Malaysians, Nestlé Professional – which is a Globally Managed Business Unit established under Nestlé – is fully dedicated to responding to the needs of out-of-home food and beverage operators.
“As part of the world’s largest food, nutrition, health and wellness company, Nestlé Professional supports the hospitality industry and this competition is a wonderful opportunity to develop young, aspiring Malaysian chefs and give them the opportunity to excel further,” said Puan Zainun Nur Abdul Rauf, Business Executive Manager of Nestlé Professional Malaysia.
In addition to the Golden Chef Hat Award competition, Nestlé Professional also supports other culinary related activities such as the Golden Chef for Chinese Cuisine competition, Culinary Arts Awards competition for colleges in the hospitality industry, Salon Culinaire Malaysia, Salon Gastronomique Penang and Sabah Hospitality Fiesta.