KUALA LUMPUR: No properly-trained chef worth his or her mettle would make the mistake of calling Caesar salad, 'scissors salad', said Malaysia’s number one celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan.
“A properly-trained chef would not make this mistake," said Chef Wan.
Commenting on the recent gaffe where a menu for an official Parliament dinner had contained the spelling mistake, Chef Wan said while the mistake was an embarrassing one, it was also understandable.
“Not everyone is exposed to the classics. Especially with some segments of society, who are more exposed to pizza, pasta and spaghetti,” he said.
Chef Wan said Malaysian chefs would do well to improve their English.
“I go to a lot of universities in my work. Sometimes, I have to stifle my laughter because the English is so bad.
“In some quarters, they are so reserved and they choose not to communicate in English,” he said.
He believed that the ‘scissors salad’ error is symptomatic of a bigger issue.
“In some sections, we are so afraid of ‘haram’, afraid of everything. Today, they are so extremist. Even when they go shopping and put items in the trolley they are afraid," he said.
His advice to local chefs?
“Go out and explore more, you need to connect yourself with the world.
“Their English is very bad. Even if they go to London, they’ll come back and they speak 'berterabur' (haphazardly). Nobody can improve your language unless you choose to communicate with others.”
Chef Wan admitted that although his proficiency in English is also lacking, he nevertheless tries his best to use it.
"I push myself, even though my Instagram postings have ‘berterabur' grammar," he quipped.
Chef Wan also shed some light on the origin of the Caesar salad. The name, he said, came from a Mexican chef who was famous from the 1920s, and not the Roman emperor Julius Caesar.
And what exactly makes a Caesar salad? Chef Wan was eager to explain.
"It's a crispy type of salad with cold romaine lettuce, a drizzle of lemon juice and topped with parmesan cheese.
“The dressing for Caesar salad usually consists of raw egg yolk, but nowadays as people are afraid of salmonella, the egg may be poached.
"The items are tossed together, you add lemon juice then drizzle olive oil to emulsify. Then you add grated parmesan cheese. This is the classic (dish).
“When you drizzle olive oil, it takes on the consistency of mayonnaise. The cheese can be grated or sliced. The classic way of doing it, involves bacon bits.
"Of course, in this country we don't do that," he said.