Don’t we just love how undoubtedly good Malaysian food is? Here’s a little appreciation to our Malaysian chefs who have not just only been serving us delicious food, but also introduces them to the world. If anything, they stand proud of their culinary heritage we are so traditionally plentiful in, be it flavors or ingredients. If you are looking out for new recipes to cook at home or workshops to attend, these are 12 Malaysian chefs to follow to get all the information you need!
1. Chef Wan
Chef Wan does not sound foreign to the ears of Malaysian; the extravagant star is competently the most acclaimed chef in Malaysia. He is everywhere you go – he’s on the television, book shelves, movies and various other medias. Born as Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, he took a swing of profession from a white-collar accountant and followed his passion for food.
He has received many awards in his lifetime, with Lifetime Jury Award and Prominent Modern Malay Chef Award as to name a few. Throughout his life, he has played a significant role in promotion Malaysia across the world through his spirit in cooking that he believes can unite Malaysians as one.
2. Anis Nabilah
Anis Nabilah needs no introduction to all you Malaysian foodies. She is an international celebrity chef and media personality which is acclaimed as one of the most accomplished young celebrity chefs in the world. Her childhood fascination with food earned her a Diploma in Culinary Arts from the Food Institute of Malaysia in 2007.
Her passion for food only gradually strives for the better as she has hosted 35 cooking shows across all main TV networks in Malaysia. Moreover, she has made Malaysian cooking accessible for viewers from across the world through her tips and easily followed recipes. Her extensive knowledge combined with her bubbly personality will only take her to greater heights in the industry.
3. Ping Coombres
Ping Coombres grew up with pomelo fruit, white coffee and most importantly, her mother’s cookery around her. That was when she began to inherit her traditional cooking skill, with holding the ‘wok’ as her very basic. After winning the BBC cooking competition in 2014, she has since focused on her goal to bring the delicious Malaysian cuisine to the United Kingdom as to celebrate the pride of her Malaysian heritage.
She also promotes Malaysian food not only in the United Kingdom but also abroad through various media and festivals. The executive chef at the pan-Asian restaurant Chi Kitchen in Oxford Street consistently shares recipes and dishes from our beloved nation on her website to bring people together through the authentic Malaysian food.
4. Christina Arokiasamy
Christina Arokiasamy could talk hours reminiscing her sweet childhood memories in Kuala Lumpur. Her backyard had an aromatic smell of cinnamon and ripe jackfruits which surrounded her large yard. The spice merchant’s daughter has shared her culinary tradition not only through her cooking but also her cookbooks.
Her cookbooks boast the flavour properties and health benefits of Malaysian seasonings, from galangal to the nutty candlenuts. She is dedicated to sharing her heritage culinary treasure with other people around the world. All in all, her cooking classes will take your palate to a new destination for you to travel, and enjoy the story from every ingredient she uses.
5. Norman Musa
Norman Musa is a one true “kampong boy” by upbringing. As he stepped into his university life that he realized he knew nothing about cooking despite his family’s restaurant business. So, there he was, all mentored by his mother through the phone and the rest is history. His newly discovered hobby led him to host occasional feasts which portrayed his skill and passion in cooking.
The self-taught chef opened his first restaurant, Ning in 2006 and shaped it into an acclaimed restaurant. His success was contributed by his ability to carefully balance authenticity of a dish with a hint of contemporary touches. At the end of the day, he is one to watch as he marks his name in the culinary industry.
6. Adam Liaw
Adam Liaw has come such a long way from winning MasterChef Australia in 2010 which was the most watched non-sporting event in Australian television history. He is now a cook, author of five cookbooks and presenter of his television series, Destination Flavor. Born as the son of a Malaysian born Chinese father, he has more than 300,000 followers on Instagram. That makes him as one of the most influential influencer in the Australian food industry.
His cooking is a product of two worlds, incorporating classic Western techniques with a plethora of Asian flavors and ingredients. He even partnered with Mission Foods to sweep Klang Valley with a variety of wrap cooked up by Liaw. Afterall, although he may be raised in the laid-back Australia, he has and will always cherish his Malaysian blood through his cooking.
7. Poh Ling Yeow
Poh Ling Yeow journey in the culinary industry began when she ran as a contestant on the first season of MasterChef Australia in 2009. The full-time artist never imagined that her food fantasies would come true after coming up runner up in the finale. However, life has an amazing way to surprise her as she was offered her first own cooking show “Poh’s Kitchen”.
Over the years, she even published her own cookbooks and presented a cooking travel show. She has continuously showcased her passion of international cuisines and raise awareness of the issue of food wastage in various medias. Ultimately, the proud Malaysian has always stayed true to herself and followed her heart which has always led her back to baking sweet treats.
8. Bernard Chu
Bernard Chu was always in the kitchen making a mess with flour and butter in his grandfather’s Malaysian bakery two decades ago. The sweet-tooth had always believed that kitchenware was his toy and kitchen was his playground from a young age. Therefore, he began his journey in Australia to earn his patisserie diploma in the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu. That was only a humble beginning to the success of LuxBite kitchen, a patisserie where each creation is inspired by flavours from his childhood memories.
It is home to the Lolly Bag cake which is 7 layers of banana jaconde, freckles crunch, mandarin jaffa ganache, musk mallow, spearmint leaf buttercream and topped with shiny red glaze – the creation that took over the dessert scene in Melbourne. However, Bern is always quick to remember his humble beginnings and is excited to return the love with his ever-changing better creations.
9. Shaun Teo
Shaun Teo is the epitome of how beautiful it is when your career and passion goes well together. Started from the bottom, the self-taught baker has now accumulated more than 100,000 Instagram followers. The talented artisanal baker has made himself known in the patisserie industry internationally, such as in Taiwan, China, just to name a few. His striking creations are a far-cry from the classic white-iced but rather boasts a contemporary, vivid design such as the magical unicorn and stellar remnants.
Each and every of his design is a masterpiece of its own, constructed to different clients’ theme. The cakes are all fresh to order, from scratch in small batches using the finest premium ingredients. Hereafter, Shaun Teo will only give the best out of the best, aesthetically beautiful yet luscious beyond your imagination.
10. Azalina Eusope
Azalina Eusope found her comfort in eating the food she grew up with when she first settled in the foreign San Francisco, USA. She has always appreciated her grandmother who sold coconut rice between villages which constantly reminds her of her culture and her food which runs in her soul and blood. She took a big leap in her career as to run a food emporium with a clear goal to bring Malaysian food to the masses.
Although she grew up being different as being from a “Mamak caste,” similarly she found her calling in embracing that in her cooking instead. Thankfully, Bon Apetit Magazine acknowledged her as one of the “10 Top Upcoming Chefs” in 2010. Even better, she had the opportunity to cater food for former president Barack Obama. Like her soul spice which is star anise, they hope to persevere even through the hardest of times.
11. Darren Teoh
Darren Teoh has been taking a revelation by breaking the boundaries with local Malaysian produce in a playful, ambitious way. His first restaurant, Dewakan represents his desire to connect the ingredients from our local natural resources to our plate as a way to pay tribute to God. He sources the best of local ingredients and interprets them in a redefining way as a contemporary Malaysian cuisine with a story to tell.
The restaurant has blossomed into one of Malaysia’s most acclaimed fine dining, creating a buzz among the culinary enthusiasts. You can expect yourself to sit through an adventurous ten-course with a twist in texture and flavour, challenging and pleasing one’s palate beyond their highest expectation.
12. Diana Chan
Diana Chan made headlines recently as she is crowned the winner of MasterChef Australia 2017, a much-deserved award for her consistency and ability to gracefully combine every ingredient in such a constrained time. During her time in the competition, she has always produced a balanced, wholesome meal that embraces a variety of flavours with Malaysian influences.
It’s surprising then to find out that her dishes were the most tasted in the competition. With the large sum of money she acquired from winning the contest, she is hopeful to open a restaurant serving wholesome fusion meals of Malaysian influences as a mean to promote the diversity of Malaysian cuisine. She is definitely the new rising star in the culinary industry that is on a high demand!
These are just some of the abundance of talented chefs we are so proud to have. Are not we so thankful for their presence in our life? They make our life so much better by bringing tasty food to our table and let us always root for them. If you know any other Malaysian chefs we might not have discovered yet, make a comment below cause we’d like to be the first to know!