Top Chefs Compete with Malaysia Kitchen

By Vita Kuo

Malaysia Kitchen for the World presented the First- Ever Rendang Cook-Off on February 1st, 2012. During the competition, six star chefs battled for title of “Best Rendang Chef in New York City.” Chef Angelo Sosa finally beat the rivals and won the competition. Malaysia Kitchen for the World is a campaign launched by the Malaysian Govern- ment through the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) to promote Malaysian cuisine and restaurants in the New York City metropolitan area.

Last month, it hosted the first-ever Rendang Cook-Off and named Chef Angelo Sosa winner after a line-up of star chefs went head- to-head preparing their own version of a tradi- tional Malaysian Beef Rendang recipe. “Rendang is a very traditional cuisine in Malaysia. People usually eat it during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. It is very delicious food and we want to make more people know about it,” said Senior Trade Commissioner Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz.

Hosted by Emmy-award-winning TV Host, Kelly Choi, the competition went wild featuring chefs Anita Lo of Annisa Restaurant in Manhattan, Dale Talde of Talde in Brooklyn, Shaun Hergatt of SHO Shaun in Manhattan, Todd English with restaurants in New York, Boston and Las Vegas, Zak Pelaccio of Fatty Crab and Fatty ‘Cue in Manhattan, Brooklyn and St. Thomas, and the final winner Angelo Sosa. The winner of the competition would receive $5,000 from Malaysia Kitchen to donate to the winner’s charity of choice. Audience members were invited to sample the dishes during each chef’s live demonstra- tion before voting on who prepares the best Rendang in New York City.

Chef Sosa was crowned champion for his version of Rendang, featuring sweetbreads. The winning prize went to his charity of choice, The Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society. “It was quite an honor to work with these talented star chefs to feature traditional Malaysian cuisine in a whole new light,” said Senior Trade Commissioner Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz. “This was a wonderful opportu- nity to highlight the delicious flavors, textures and diversity of Malaysian cooking – in addition to the quality ingredients and products available to the American public.”

Before the cook-off began, Chef Hasni Ghazali of Bentara restaurant in Connecticut demonstrated a traditional Malaysian Beef Rendang recipe – which is prepared by slowly simmering pieces of beef with coconut milk and a blend of traditional Malaysian spices (mix of ginger, chilies and galangal). When we asked him what’s the secret to cooking delicious Rendang, he said, “ I will say, just cook it with your love. My mom taught me how to cook it when I was a child. For me, this food is filled with a lot of memories.”