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ROMPIN: Being born and raised in a poor family did not prove to be a hindrance for celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail or Chef Wan, to excel.

The one-time former accountant, and now one of the world's leading celebrity chefs, has never stopped striving hard to continue improving the quality of life of his family.

The second generation Sungai Koyan Felda settler said he had begun his culinary journey by helping his mother, Noraini Abdullah in the kitchen since he was small. This was to prepare food for sale after his school hours.

“Every night, I would help my mother to grind the chilies and prepare the necessary raw material to make 400 packets of nasi lemak every day.

“I also remember helping my mother to make cakes for sale,” he said after the eldest of seven siblings was announced as the 'Ikon Anak Felda' at Felda’s Hari Peneroka Kebangsaan (Settlers’ Day), at Felda Selancar 3 here today.

He received the award from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who launched the event.

Chef Wan said he was excited to receive the award and assured that the mandate would be utilised positively.

He is also geared up to go down to the ground to share his experience and inspire the new generation of Felda settlers.

“The new generation should be inspired and their thinking should be exposed to venture into new fields. I'm ready to go to go down to the ground to meet Felda's new generation and to share with them the motivation to succeed in life.

“I believe that every individual needs to change their self-esteem and their attitude, and look forward to succeed in their chosen field,” he said.

Chef Wan said the new generation of Felda settlers need the appropriate encouragement as each of them were akin to a rough gemstone that would shine if they are polished.

“I still remember when I met Tun (Dr Mahathir) two months ago and he asked me to talk to Felda's new generation on the importance of hard work and a need to avoid laziness. That's what I'm going to do,” he said.

Earlier, Chef Wan held a cooking demonstration of rabbit meat, which will become one of the Felda settlers’ development projects.

He received the award from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who launched the event.NSTP/Mahzir Mat Isa
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