RBC chefs that participated in the competition. Image: Wardi Wasil.

After sending its largest contingent for this year’s iteration of the Culinaire Malaysia 2019 Cooking Competition, 12 Royal Brunei Catering (RBC) chefs represented the sultanate and made one of the most impressive showings by bringing home gold and silver medals.

Held in Kuala Lumpur last September, Culinaire Malaysia gathers cullinary professionals from across the globe.

In addition to ASEAN competitors, contenders come all the way from Europe and the Middle East to showcase their skills and gain international recognition.

RBC’s General Manager, Hj Jeff Hardiman Dato Paduka Hj Danial. Image: Wardi Wasil.

Going head to head with over a thousand contenders, the RBC team nabbed two gold, three silver, seven bronze as well as winning a trophy for being the first runner-up in the MLA Golden Bull Culinary Challenge.

“This is the biggest contingent that we have ever sent (to take part in the Culinaire Malaysia),” said RBC’s General Manager, Hj Jeff Hardiman Dato Paduka Hj Danial.

“This was probably the most tired they’ve been, they competed every day, some running on just three hours of sleep. We saw their emotions come out, shedding tears of both joy and frustration”.

Silver medalist in the Artistic Showpiece category, pastry chef Ahmad Mansor. Image: Wardi Wasil

Bagging the silver in the Artistic Showpiece category, pastry chef Ahmad Mansor’s heart actually fell into pieces when his showpiece shattered on the flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Inspired by the Teapot Monument in Kuala Belait along with other local motifs like the Bunga Ayer Muleh, Ahmad worked on his creation for six months because of its complicated design.

“I was praying the whole way (to Kuala Lumpur) that my showpiece would remain intact because it had to be stored in the cargo. But when we arrived, it all broke into pieces (and) to see my creation just destroyed I..,” he said while holding back tears.

Dish by another gold medal winner, Andy Chong Kai Siong in the Fish/Seafood Main Course (Western Cuisine): Pistachio Crusted Cod Fish with Mieulle-Fieulle Potato, Carrot and Sweet Potato Puree, Seasonal Vegetables and Balsamic Reduction. Image: Wardi Wasil

Thankfully, with just a week left until the competition, Ahmad managed to replicate his initial creation through ingredients procured in the city.

He spent the entire week tirelessly rebuilding what was broken.

Meanwhile, first-time contender to the Culinaire Malaysia, Mohd Khairuddin Manap, brought home gold in the Malaysia Heritage Cuisine category with his Nasi Kerabu with Dessicated Coconut, Grilled Lamb and Asam Kunyit sauce.

Gold winning dish by Mohd Khairuddin Manap that won the Malaysia Heritage Cuisine category: Nasi Kerabu with Dessicated Coconut, Grilled Lamb and Asam Kunyit sauce. Image: Wardi Wasil

Before taking part in the culinary competition, the school leaver’s main task was to steam fish at the Horizons Seafood Restaurant in the capital.

He never imagined to be chosen as part of the final team to represent RBC, let alone winning gold.

“I still find it hard to believe (that I won gold), It felt like a dream, it still does, but I know that achieving it was not easy, so I’m thankful for my team who kept pushing me to do better”.

Some of the dishes presented by RBC chefs during the team challenge of the Culinaire Malaysia 2019 Cooking Competition in Kuala Lumpur. Image: Wardi Wasil

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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