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Zen Star Chef Talent Search, Sooka Sentral

>> Monday, July 6, 2009

Date: 4 July 2009
Venue: Zen, Sooka Sentral
Occasion: Media + Food Bloggers Review

I was rather excited to be invited for this event :D For a somewhat "young flogger" that I am, any events that allows me to meet more people & learn more will be more than welcomed. I'm very thankful to BestFoodJunction.com for sending me the invitation. A personal thank you to Brian Chang (contributor) & Aaron Kwan (editor) for the invite! I felt really blessed that I could bring along Lian & Joel as well! *yay*

This event was to introduce the 6 shortlisted young talents from the 14 young chefs who participated in the Zen Star Chef Talent Search Competition in the beginning & to showcase (and sample) their creation of a main dish & dessert each. The competition began on 9th June 2009 with 14 shortlisted talents, & in this event at Zen, Sooka Sentral, the best 6 were introduced :)

I met up with Lian at the KL Sentral station, where we had time to "lepak" before trying to find our way to Sooka Sentral, a relatively new building next to KL Sentral station. We were there by 1:30pm, but the event was supposed to begin only at 2:00pm. *sigh* No choice but to wait. I thought it would be good to arrive earlier, but I was wrong this time around. Malaysian timing was too evident during the event. Lian & I were the 1st blogger+friend to appear at the event :S (I don't know if I should be proud of this or not! Hahaha).

We felt rather lost since it's our 1st time at such an event. The organizers were busy preparing the place & the young talents. People were everywhere, but not many were very helpful & friendly. By the time more people arrived, I noticed that most people kinda knew each other already - media representatives, bloggers, & guests. Hmm...newbie has to find her way somehow...The event started for good only around 3:15pm *faints* I spent at least half an hour or more talking to Pauline, & the rest of the time, just warming the seats, meeting some new faces, doing a wee bit of exchanging name cards, & erm...staring into space! *lol* Ok, Ruth is SO not a social-chick...nope, am not.

Ah well, you can read more about this competition& event in the links provided. Miss Wong will just share with all of you some photos taken at the event :) Feel free to drop some comments! Cheers!


Part of the interior at Zen, Sooka Sentral

The registration table
Beautiful ladies at the registration table :) I only know the name of the girl on the right, Magdalene. I didn't get a chance to introduce myself to the other girl :(

New Friend
I met Pauline from Malaysian Today, a weekly newspaper, emphasizing on lifestyle and sport to target young urban readers in the age group of 17-25. A very fun, bubbly young lady, who has just completed her studies in Journalism, Pauline is all out to write on happening stuff that appeals to the youths in Malaysia! Beside me is of course, Lian, my good friend & colleague, whom I can go crazy with at any time of the day :D

Old Friend
I met Rachel at this event! Ah...a familiar face does warm the heart ;)

Bruder from another mother...*lol*
Joel, my fellow friend & colleague, whom I am very prone to irritate & disturb without him getting too mad at me! :P

Random shot due to boredom
I thought Zen would have their own brand & utensils/items. They're still using Secret Recipe's! I'm just amazed & amused at this humble 'paper cup'. It's really hard for a paper cup!!

Below are photos to introduce the food prepared by the 6 young chefs themselves:
(p/s: Comments are finally out!!)

Fish Tempura & Beans serve with Pumpkin Curry Dip by Emil Farez
Too bad the food was cold by the time we got to tasting it :( If not, I reckon this dish would actually taste quite pleasant. The pumpkin curry dip was actually 'the item' that made this dish stand out.

Chilled Strawberry Cheesecake by Emil Farez
Frankly speaking, I actually liked this dessert best! The texture was really good, though the taste wasn't all that wow. Perhaps it would be better to have fresh strawberry bits weaved in the cheesecake! *drools*

Roasted Moroccan Chicken with Harrissa & Sambal, Curried Couscous and Mixed Green Salad by Trevor Pang
This dish is by far the one with most number of positive comments. The taste of the well-marinated chicken & the couscous (something rarely served everywhere) made the dish stand out. It's one of the most creative combination as compared to the rest of the dishes served. Well done, Trevor!

Black Sesame Oreo Cheesecake by Trevor Pang
This is a dessert of "east meets west" - inspired by a humble bowl of black sesame dessert/'tong sui' in Cantonese, Trevor came out with this idea of experimenting the black sesame into an oreo cheesecake. It's pretty interesting, really. I just felt that the texture was way too light & not cheesy at all. It felt like milk/cream instead of cheese...taste-wise, it's a lil salty & a lil sweet, so it's not too bad la...

Pan Fried Salmon serve with Mango Hollandaise Sauce by Christopher Wan Sageng
The mashed yam was a unique idea; it's a replacement for mashed potatoes. The salmon was somewhat overdone - dry & hard-er already. The mango sauce could do with a 'lil more water (or just more liquidy) cos the samples that we had was too dry.

Pineapple and Clove Mousse by Christopher Wan Sageng
This is actually a lovely dessert. The sweetness of the pineapple & the creamy-feel of the mousse was just perfected with the crispy stick of biscuit :)

Hot Pot Braised Chicken by Peter Pang
I actually enjoyed this dish though it tasted rather 'common'. I guess it's the "ah...home-cooked" feel! Hahaha...I just enjoy tomato-base sauces with chunky chicken, onions, & carrots :)

Trio Mousse by Peter Pang
I didn't get to taste this, so I can't comment. But by 1st impression, it's quite a humble-looking dessert that looks very innocent....hahaha...

Baked Cheese Thai Curry Chicken Fried Rice by Jeff Wang
Erm...I didn't find anything very 'wow' with the fried rice (being a fan of fried-rice). The green curry was alright, but for the sample, there wasn't any cheese served with the green curry, so it felt as if something was missing from the intended creation :(

Banana Chocolate Slice by Jeff Wang
The taste was VERY similar to Secret Recipe's Chocolate Banana cake. The only difference is that the cake isn't made from chocolate, but from sweet ripe bananas. A simple & nutritious dessert, but nothing special/new.

Pan Fried Salmon served with Garlic Beurre Blanc by Alson Khor
The salmon was nicely fried! I love salmon, so I thought this one was just nice. The fried ginger shreds went well with the fish...in actual fact, this combination would never go wrong as it's a common combination in Chinese-style fish dishes. The mashed potato was nice, but I can't taste the celery bits as mentioned by Alson. The overall taste of this dish was rather pleasant & commendable :)

Kalamansi Cheesecake by Alson Khor
Yet another light cheesecake, which I felt lost the essence of a cheesecake (not cheesy). The kalamansi was a good substitute for the lemon, though it means trading the lemon fragrance with its small citrus conterpart. The base of the cake was common, using high-fibre biscuits, which Alson claims makes the dessert a 'dessert for girls who are afraid of putting on weight'.

More cameramen/women than food items on display
Seems like the celebrities ain't the chefs, but their food!! *lol*

Introducing the emcee for the event & the young chefs:

Jamie Fong, Marketing Manager of Secret Recipe
Jamie was the 'emcee' for the event

Young Chef, Jeff Wang

Young Chef, Emil Farez

Young Chef, Peter Pang

Young Chef, Trevor Pang

Young Chef, Christopher Wan Sageng

Experienced Chef, Alson Khor


Of course, after all the introduction & preview to the mouth-watering food, it will only be justified for the guest to get a taste of the young talents' creations! *drools at the array of food*

Alson's Pan Fried Salmon served with Garlic Beurre Blanc

Christopher's Pan Fried Salmon serve with Mango Hollandaise Sauce

Emil's Fish Tempura & Beans serve with Pumpkin Curry Dip

Peter's Hot Pot Braise Chicken


Trevor's Roasted Moroccan Chicken with Harrissa & Sambal, Curried Couscous and Mixed Green Salad


Jeff's Baked Cheese Thai Curry Chicken Fried Rice



After SIX main courses, comes the SIX desserts...how not to be full after the affair?? I was SO full after sampling everything, bits & pieces here there, that I could not take in dinner, nor supper! I wasn't even very hungry the next day during breakfast...fuh...PerutBesi Ruth ate a lot... :S

Jeff's Banana Chocolate Slice

Trevor's Black Sesame Orea Cheesecake

Alson's Kalamansi Cheesecake

Emil's Chilled Strawberry Cheesecake

Peter's Trio Mousse

What PerutBesi Ruth consumed...*faints in awe*

The dessert she had after that! *faints again in shock*

In every competition, there will surely be a panel of judges. There were 4 judges from the media, organizers, & an invited chef from The Westin Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Every guest were also given a vote for the chef whom they believe deserves an extra point :) How fun! I can't wait to know who are the final 3 chefs!! The winner gets to go to Australia for a priceless experience in his culinary career!

Here are some photos of the judges:




The chefs & staff of Zen, Sooka Sentral

Another random shot (after the event)
Lian & Joel at a nearby cafe that Joel thought looks nice & he SO wanted a photo with the background of the cafe....

I'm looking forward to the final event on the 6th of August at Sunway Pyramid!! Can't wait to know who will be the final 3 talents & who will eventually win the competition & the trip to Australia! Stay tumed with PerutBesi & BestFoodJunction.com for details of the awaited event :D


- Ruth

4 comments:

thenomadGourmand July 12, 2009 at 6:07 AM  

nice meeting u tht day!

jason July 21, 2009 at 6:32 PM  

I was going to register myself for the event but then, something came up last minute. :(

Look like you had a good time.

PerutBesi July 22, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

->thenomadGourmand: Yo Becks! Nice meeting u twice! Hohoho...looking forward to have more meet-ups (and catch-ups!!) in the near future!
->jason: Hello!! The event wasn't all that wow la...just the array of food :) U didn't miss THAT much, but it would be nice to meet u in person & do some catch-ups :)

Anonymous February 18, 2011 at 11:18 AM  

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Just wanted to share out that I had just tasted this durian chilled cheesecake for my birthday treat bought by my friend. Wow... it tasted very nice and true to it words, it has durian flesh meat in it. Can taste the cheesy texture as well as not too sweet. Worth for the money. They do provide free delivery for certain location. Check them out !


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