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ProChef YMCA Ipoh Cookout Contest in Full Swing

By Anne Das

Ipoh is abuzz with culinary excitement as it hosts its first-ever ProChef Cookout Contest 2023 at Little Katong in Canning Garden. This event is more than just a competition; it’s a lively celebration of great cooking, creative dishes, and the joy of preparing and sharing food together.

Running over two action-packed days on the 24th and 25th of October, this Cookout Contest will culminate in a sumptuous gala dinner and a prize-giving ceremony on the 27th. The competition’s kick-off was nothing short of exhilarating, featuring three exciting sessions that set the stage for the journey ahead.

Out of  21 contestants, only eight of these passionate contestants will advance to the semifinals held tomorrow, each competing for the coveted title of ProChef and Cash prizes worth over RM10,000 in total.

Little Katong Restaurant has been transformed into a culinary sanctuary, with spotless surfaces, spacious workstations, and radiant lighting. The contestants, hailing from diverse backgrounds, including housewives, students, cooks, chefs, and even an engineer, eagerly embraced the opportunity to wield top tier culinary tools, setting the stage for two days of intense competition.

The thrill of the competition lies in the unveiling of a mystery main ingredient just before each session begins. Guided by hosts Dato David Tan and Datin Lynette Tan, contestants are thrust into the culinary challenge. In the first session, rice takes centre stage, resulting in a dazzling array of dishes, including Pineapple Fried Rice, Rice Teriyaki Prawn Burger, and a captivating risotto, among others.

The second session shifts the spotlight to eggs, inspiring contestants to showcase their ability to think outside the box. Surprisingly, the third session brings rice back into focus, taking everyone by surprise and challenging contestants to explore new horizons with this versatile ingredient.

No culinary journey is complete without the guidance of experienced arbiters of taste. This contest boasts a distinguished panel of judges, including Ipoh’s beloved Food Diva, See Foon Chan-Koppen, celebrated author of “Foodie’s Guide to the Best Eats in Ipoh”; Maria Low, co-founder of the prestigious Maria’s Steakhouse, renowned for its unwavering commitment to culinary excellence; and Celyn Tay, the visionary founder behind Team Some, Canning Dim Sum, and Jom Dimsum.

ProChef Contenders were given a slot each to present and explain their dish to the judges.

Here are some of the awesome dishes from today!

Judges meticulously evaluate the dishes based on four fundamental criteria: Kitchen Skills, Creativity, Presentation, and Flavor. The tension in the room is palpable as contestants eagerly await their feedback.

The ProChef YMCA Ipoh Cookout Contest is more than just a competition; it’s a jubilant celebration of diversity, creativity, and the bonds that form over a shared passion for food. That’s the unifying power of cooking. As we eagerly await the announcement of the winners, one thing is clear – today’s event has made a significant impact on the culinary landscape of Ipoh, and this is only the beginning.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates!

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