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Apprentice chefs hone their skills

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DELECTABLE SPREAD: The aspiring professional cooks served an eight-course banquet for 300 guests

KUALA LUMPUR: EIGHTY budding chefs and waiters from eight culinary schools recently proved their mettle at the Youth Chef's Table at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) Banquet Hall, here.

The programme, which was held for the second time, was organised by the Chef's Association of Malaysia.

The participating students showcased their skills in preparing a banquet for 300 guests at a gala dinner.

Themed the 21st Century Young Chefs Cuisine Revolution, the programme was aimed at educating and nurturing young talents, especially Generation Y, with the opportunity to work as culinary chefs as well as to expose them to what goes on behind the scenes at a five-star outfit.

The culinary schools were Berjaya University College of Hospitality (Berjaya), Cilantro Culinary Academy (Cilantro), Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University College (KLMUC), KDU University College (KDUUC), Inti Laureate International University (Inti), Sunway University, Taylor's University and Legend International College of Hospitality and Tourism (Legend).

The chefs were guided throughout the process, from dealing with the suppliers and purchasing raw materials to coming up with the recipes and finally, creating the cuisine.

Each school was represented by 10 members with half of them consisting of the kitchen crew, while the rest were in charge of serving the guests.

Prior to the event, the students underwent a series of training sessions with the guidance of professional chefs.

They had to apply the skills and knowledge acquired during their tutorials to the preparation of the main course as well as for canapes, cocktails, and mocktails.

Youth Chef Club Malaysia adviser Richmond Lim said the event was a platform for the young chefs to understand the concept of a banquet.

"This year, we have upgraded the requirement on skills, food quality and presentation.

"We want to bring out the best in the participants and encourage them to excel in their career.

"The students are enthusiastic about this programme as it helps them to hone their culinary skills.

"We want them to experience preparing banquets which is totally different from restaurant meals.

"We have trained them in the most important elements in banquet meals -- speed, time and temperature -- which equal quality. To ensure the quality of food and services, they have to learn to speed up on preparation, serve the guests punctually and the food should be at the right temperature," said Lim.

The guests were treated to an eight-course dinner.

The banquet kicked off with a delectable crab salad timbale which was prepared by KLMUC chefs.

Next the Taylor's University team prepared a mouth-watering double-boiled chicken consomme with ravioli.

This was followed by a juicy cured petuna trout with fresh herbs presented by Sunway University chefs.

Legend students later amazed the guests with their tender and succulent sakura chicken roulade.

Next, the Inti team served guests a Pacific cod with a crust of herbs. The cod fish was smooth and sweet and the guests enjoyed it immensely.

The guests later tucked into a combination of Australian ranch beef and lamb which was prepared by the Berjaya chefs.

The meal ended with lip-smacking desserts.

KDUUC chefs impressed guests with their le chocolatier while the Cilantro team presented a tasty mango and passion gelato.

One of the students from Berjaya, Samuel Decruz, 20, said preparing the banquet meal was more challenging than preparing restaurant dishes.

"I was nervous yet excited about this session. This exercise allowed young chefs like me to understand the nature of working in the food and beverage industry.

"One of the challenges is when my team was assigned to cook beef and lamb dishes. As we are new to this type of menu, we have to ensure that the meat is tender and well-cooked. So we had a brainstorming session to discuss what method to use."

According to a KDUUC student from Thailand, Bt Bangtor, the most stressful part was preparing food for 300 diners which is a lot.

"We had to show our best performance as we uphold the image of our college. On the whole, we had fun creating the desserts. We also learnt that time management, passion and patience are crucial when preparing for a banquet," he said.

The talented chefs who got together to prepare the grand meal.

The art of serving canapes.

Crab salad timbale prepared by the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University College team.

The cooks hurrying to prepare the food.

Sakura chicken roulade prepared by Legend International College of Hospitality and Tourism.

Pacific cod with herbs crust created by Inti Laureate International University chefs.

A combination of Australian Ranch beef and lamb by Berjaya University College of Hospitality.

A delicate serving of cured petuna trout with fresh herbs by Sunway University.

The double-boiled chicken consomme with ravioli from Taylor’s University.

The culinary students are also required to master the art of making cocktails and mocktails.

The mouth-watering le chocolatier presented by KDU University College.


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