Student Chen Khai Loon brought home gold for Malaysia at the 6th International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) at Kolkata, India, marking it as the third win from the competition since 2015.
His winning dish was Puy Lentils-stuffed Aubergine with Beetroot and Cinnamon Reduction and Trio of Prawns served with Pak Choy, Pomme Puree, Pickled Shallot and Cardamom sauce.
Chen said: “Each prawn dish was cooked differently; ensuring the crispiness in the wrapped potatoes, accompanied with butter paste and prawn mousse stuffed in okra.
He said he practised three times a day, five days a week, for 25 days in preparation for the competition.
“For this competition, it was crucial that I could adapt to the rules and regulations, list of equipment and ingredients provided while maintaining the standards set by my chef mentors, chef Farouk and chef Sharizan.”
YCO 2020 was organised by the International Hospitality Council in association with the International Institute of Hotel Management and supported by India’s government and Tourism Ministry.
The global competition saw participants from 55 countries competing for six days, across five cities in India — Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Goa and Kolkata.
Apart from receiving the YCO 2020 Champion trophy, Chen donned the golden toque and bagged the prize cheque of US$10,000 (RM41,415).
In previous years, his predecessors from the Culinary Arts programme, Ashwin Nicholas Oon and Lai Jia Yi, won gold in 2015 and 2018 respectively, and Andrew Ou Kai Peng won silver in 2017.
Taylor’s University’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management executive dean Professor Neethiahnanthan said: “We are glad to provide this opportunity to our students to go beyond classrooms and put Malaysia on the world culinary map. Our award winning lecturers coached Chen and harnessed his personal flair, which he brought to the table, while incorporating a taste of local cuisine, making it the winning dish.”
Taylor’s University also received the Sustainability Initiative Champion award given to the Top 10 academic establishment with progressive sustainability initiatives, which was the event theme for YCO 2020.