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My Experience at the Philips Cooking Challenge 2014, Empire Shopping Gallery

>> Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I could finally sit back & take a deep breath of relieve after months of mad project work & activities. *PHEW!!* What an exciting August, I have to say. Each & every month has been filled with excitement that my entire being just couldn't contain & comprehend!

I have to share with you on my 1st ever experience in a cooking competition. I've never really thought of joining a competition. To me, cooking is for my own leisure & pleasure. I enjoy cooking simple dishes for myself, my family & my friends, but that's about it. Cooking to win something? Hmm...now that's a different ball game altogether!

So how did it start, you may wonder. Here's the conversation that built up to the excitement of my participation:

Sidney: Hi Ruth, do you cook?
Ruth: Hi Sidney, yes I do. Simple cooking, baking kinda thing...
Sidney: Will you interested to participate in the Philips bloggers cooking challenge this 30th August at Empire Subang?
Ruth: Sidney, is this a paired event or individual?  I've never entered a cooking competition cos I'm just a cook-for-self/family/friends kinda person
Sidney: Paired. Bloggers will be paired with fitness instructors. Interesting. I've got a seat left.
Ruth: Ooo..it is interesting...if they dont need a pro, count me in!

I had no clue on how a cooking competition works, what I need to cook, what I'll be using...etc, but I agreed to it. I'm kinda mad! Last seat or not, I'm grateful for the opportunity!

Armed with all my "kalangchang" (utensils & some ingredients) & a mount of prayers by my family & friends, I made my way to the Empire Shopping Gallery on the eve of Merdeka Day. I was pretty excited, nervous & also thrilled!

My "kalangchang"!
Told you I was kinda mad...I brought a whole luggage of stuff for the competition! They ain't providing plates, utensils, cutting board, knives & any special ingredients that you may need for your dish, so I brought half my kitchen there! *rofl*

The concourse area of Empire Shopping Gallery
So packed with items on display! Oh my, the work-station looks mini...how to fit 2 persons per team & 10 teams in that cooking arena? *gulp*

Provided ingredients
Not bad! At least there are some essentials for whatever dishes that we're asked to cook.

The stack of prizes & goodie bags :D

The event's emcee, Stuart Daniels

The mechanics of the competition is very similar to Masterchef/ Kan Cheong Kitchen. The fitness instructors will pick out a name of a blogger whom they'll pair with, while the blogger will pick out the main ingredient that the team has to prepare & cook within 1 hour. *sweats* The main cooking utensil: the Philips Airfryer!

With the 'important' people!
Top left (clockwise): My partner, Fitness First Instructor - Kelvin Ng; One of the judges, Chef Zam; Another one of the judges, Chef Marina Mustafa; Blogger & judge, Sidney Kan.

I was hoping not to get prawns, but yes, we drew out the prawns *cries* All I could think of at that point of time was grilled prawns with a side of a salad :( If only my mini brain could think of more creative stuff like cereal prawns! Hahaha...oh well...

Cleaning the prawns & preparing the salad dressing
I took care of the prawns, while Kelvin took care of the salad

Too bad my immediate family members can't be there to watch me cook as they had other plans. So I had 3 very important people at the event, supporting me all the way!

My aunt & uncle came :D
I had both my aunt & uncle, plus my buddy, June, who became my photographer. I also had a random couple from the crowd supporting my team...hahaha...such fun!

What should we do?
Communication is key...

I was really tensed & focused, but I had ONE shot with a smile at the camera *lol*

Back to pan-toasting my pine nuts for the salad
The pan was 'bleagh'...so thin & burns so fast that I have to keep a close watch on my nuts!

Checking on my prawns
My poor photographer was trying to sneak through to get a photo of me...hahaha...my supporter, a Vietnamese lady from the crowd, was watching very closely...it's my 1st time using the airfryer. I've no clue how to use it & the limited time + just 1 airfryer for every ingredient that I was hoping to use the airfryer wasn't sufficient! My planning skills need to be upgraded!

Grilled Herbed Prawns (with the Philips Airfryer), Mashed Pumpkins (steamed with the Philips Airfryer), Fresh Garden Salad with Kiwi-Honey-Apply Cider Dressing
Finally! We made it in time! I'm not 100% satisfied with our dish, but 1 hour isn't sufficient for preparing, cleaning, cooking, plating & what nots! Not for an amateur like us, for sure :P

Gotta have some pride & satisfaction for the team-work!
We did WELL for 1st-timers! Woohoo!

Judges are here! *sweats*

The taste-test
So proud to have our simple food taste-tested by such renowned chefs! :D

Receiving the feedback & comments
Mash was good, salad was good, sweetness/freshness of prawns were slightly over-powered by the herbs *boohoo*

At the end of the competition, every team walks away with a Philips product. Our team didn't bag the top 3 spots, of course (the winners were amazing!!), but we walked away with a Philips Kitchen Machine each :D

And the winner is...
Jennifer's team #1!! :D Her dish was SUPERBLY wow!

The winning dish
East Meets West Chicken Wings *salute*

Some of the other dishes
Top left (clockwise): 1st runner up with their squid dish, 2nd runner up with their dessert, consolation prizes of desserts, chicken & salmon dishes.

All the teams in the cooking competition :D Well done, everyone!

I'm really thankful to Philips Malaysia, the panel of judges, Sidney, & my partner Kelvin, for the exciting & rewarding experience! Thanks for the unforgettable experience, the load of laughter, the opportunity to cook in front of the public & to simply participate in a cooking competition :)

Special thanks to those who have supported me with their presence (aunty Anne, uncle Chee Peng, June Lee, even Mike Sam & Sarah Chen for coming over), prayers & words of encouragement as well.

To God be the glory for blessing me with this opportunity!

One more accomplishment for year 2014,


careno September 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM  

i tak sempat rasa menu u hari tu... huhuhu

careno September 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM  

i tak sempat rasa menu u masak hari tu...

PerutBesi September 9, 2014 at 4:23 PM  

@careno: Haha...takpe la...lain kali kita bermasak-masak lagi :D

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