>> Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The Gala Launch for the MIGF 2014 (one of the largest, if not the largest, gourmet festivals in town each year) was held at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre late last month, 26th September 2014. This year marks the 14th year of this festival, with 28 participating restaurants & a good number of Red Hot Chefs.
I received the invitation to the Gala Launch, of which I rsvp-ed, but did not receive any confirmation email from the organizing PR company. Thinking that just like certain PR companies that do not practice acknowledgements, I sent out another email to seek for 'double-confirmation' that my email reply has been received. Both emails didn't receive a system bounce, neither did it receive any replies from the head of PR. Hmm...
I went ahead anyways & rushed from work in Cyberjaya, got dressed formally (dress code was evening gown), put on some make-up, which I rarely put on during non-events, & braved the massive Friday evening traffic jam to the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre. Was all the effort worth it? Read on...
The event was certainly filled with excitement & festivity. Almost everyone was dressed in their best & waiters were walking around serving drinks & small bites to all guest. I proceeded to the Media Registration Desk, where I was asked by a lady for my name. After informing her, she said in a rather impolite manner that my name isn't in the list & didn't provide any advice on what I should do next. The slight commotion made the organizing chairman, Dato' Steve Day, come over to check on the situation & I was rudely informed to go home & come the next day since my name wasn't in the guest list. I was probably too shocked & baffled by the treatment, but I am not that easily bullied, mind you.
I showed them a printed copy of my email correspondence to the lady & Dato', which without apology, they showed me a crossed look, asked each other what they should do & to cut the story short, handed me the 'gourmet dollar booklets' grudgingly. Not very professional, eh?
Without a doubt I was upset with the entire treatment as if I'm not even a human, & was tempted to just walk off, leaving the venue, but did not, since I took so much time & effort to get there already. I proceeded towards the entrance of the hall, where I was stopped by the 'security', who insisted that I have the media pass if I were to enter the hall. *sigh* I wasn't given anything apart from those 'gourmet dollar booklets' & had to walk back to the Media Registration Desk.
I told another young chap who was at the desk that I needed the pass & he even asked in return if I was provided the media kit, which of course I said no. Upset, upset...I couldn't even comprehend my own emotions anymore. Thanking the guy, I walked towards the hall again & met up with some of my food blogger friends inside the hall, where we started taking photos & chit-chatted until we had another unpleasant encounter: we were impolitely 'chased' out of the hall without a reason. Am I in the wrong to be really crossed? To the very least, as the organizing committee, you could just tell all your guests to leave the hall first & come back later as the photo-taking session was over (or for whatever reason you had to have the hall vacated).
We walked out of the hall, not feeling like well-treated guests, & actually spent an hour lingering outside without anything much to look forward to. Everyone was telling me to chill, but it wasn't that easy to put emotions aside & try to enjoy the night. I struggled, I tried, & I held my tongue to only speak when required. Dear Lord, help me. We were all kinda starving as well, so I guess hungry people can be a little more angry people, no?
Some of us ended up getting too bored of sitting around & just waiting that we decided to pop-by the Epicure International Gourmet Village in the next hall. The gourmet village showcased some new products available in the market, with some stalls providing samples for guests to try/taste.
There weren't that many stalls to fill up our whole hour, so we took our own sweet time to browse through the stalls & check out the new food products in the market.
One of the more interesting products at the gourmet market were home-made sausages from Heartland Foods. The sausages are currently not available at supermarkets, but customers could call or email to order & have the sausages delivered. I must say that the sausages are quite delish, especially the chili beef sausage!
When we finally get to enter the hall/Theater of Cuisines for the Gala Launch, a few of us went around to check out each restaurant & cuisines showcased. You'll have to use your gourmet dollars in exchange for the small bites to taste-test the various cuisines cooked by the Red Hot Chefs. Different items will require different amount of points, from 1 to 3 points at the maximum.
It was certainly an unforgettable experience at this year's MIGF Gala Launch. I hope that the organizing committee will improve on the way they treat their guests for subsequent MIGFs. The festival actually lasts for the entire month of October from the 1st to 31st, with the 28 participating restaurants offering their special MIGF 2014 menu items, so do visit those restaurants & enjoy the variety of exquisite cuisines only available this month!
The wise uses her mouth to eat more than speak? :D
p/s: For those who were wondering if I took any further action on the experience, I did write to the Head of PR, and the Head of PR called me after 10 days to apologize.