Earth Day Culinary Competition "Waste not, Want not"

Culinary Art students Maw Kah Hong (from left), Lee Zhi Han and Wong Kean Pong nervously looking at the judges tasting their cooking before giving marks. Judges are Ian Yee (from right), Chef Izam and Chef Jirwan.   “We should eliminate the ‘wasting mentality’ by self-discipline, do not waste food, do not waste efforts, do not waste youth and most importantly, do not waste life,” says John LY. Kam, CEO of Djungle People.  Participants explain to John LY. Kam (right) on how they are going to cook with the ‘secret ingredients’ they received on the spot -- chicken gizzards and chicken feet. 
SHAH ALAM, 22April 2015 – Malaysians have always been known as food connoisseurs or foodies, but did you know that we waste up to 8 million kilograms of food per day? Shocking, considering the fact that this amount of food can actually feed up to 6 million people.  

This was the motivation that spurred KDU University College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism & Culinary Arts (SHTCA) to organise the ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ culinary competition. As a leading culinary arts educator, the SHTCA wanted to instil the ‘waste not’ mentality in its students, who will be managing food in their career as future chefs.  

The competition was held in conjunction with Earth Day, celebrated worldwide on 22nd April, at KDU’s brand new flagship campus in Utropolis, Glenmarie.  

John L.Y Kam, CEO of Djungle People, gave an introductory remark before the competition began, saying that food wastage is a type of mentality that ties in with people’s attitude. He reminded the participants to eliminate the ‘wasting mentality’ by self-discipline - do not waste food, do not waste effort, do not waste youth and eventually, do not waste life.  

“If a person doesn’t waste any effort and always make an effort to do more, achieve more, save more; if everybody make a little bit more of an effort, you would ultimately get a lot more out of life!” said John. 

During the competition, participants were actually puzzled when they were given a ‘secret ingredient’ on the spot. These were something they were not familiar with and hadn’t use before in their daily class – chicken feet, chicken liver, chicken gizzard and partly wilted vegetables! The participants were then required to produce a main course in merely 60 minutes, followed by presentation to the judges. 

According to Chef Fami Taufeq, SHTCA’s academic department head and executive chef who was in-charge of the culinary competition, reviving the odds and ends of vegetable, wilted produce and ingredient regarded as second grade quality, is one way to fight food wastage in this world. 

“Our message to the public is simple - do not waste food as there are a lot of people who are hungry out there. We can’t solely rely on fresh vegetables. More often than not, you can just cut away the wilted part of the vegetable and keep the portion that is still in good condition,” said Chef Fami. 

In the exciting hour of competing in the ‘hot kitchen’, 51 students who took part in this competition were divided into 17 groups with three members each. Innovation and creativity to incorporate the ‘secret ingredient’ was a great challenge for each and every one of them. Besides looking at their creativity, the judges gave marks based on the criteria such as hygiene and cleanliness (20%), organising of the working station (10%), skill and techniques (30%) and finishing (40%). 

After an hour session of presenting their dish to the judging panel, chaired by Chef Mohd Noor Izam Bin Said, KDU’s senior lecturer and business development chef, together with visiting-Chef Shairi Jirwan from El Libre and Mr. Ian Yee, editor of R.AGE platform, Diploma in Culinary Arts students Maw Kah Hong, Lee Zhi Han and Wong Kean Pong were thrilled to find out that they had won the first prize with the fusion cooking style of Braised Chicken Feet, Deep Fried Chicken Gizzard and Three-layered Chicken Liver with Mushroom.  

Speaking about their experience in the competition, Kean Pong said, “We were puzzled when we first received the ingredients.” Kah Hong added, “We quickly discussed among ourselves and came out with an idea on how to cook it.” 

“Sufficient knowledge on the food is important as one will know different cooking method for each different ingredient,” said Zhi Han. 

Kah Hong succinctly concluded, “By not wasting every ingredient in culinary practice, we can also apply this concept into our daily life, which reminds us not to waste time, youth, talent and effort throughout college time.”  

The delighted boys won a 2-day 1 night stay in Eight Acres, Raub, for 3 pax and RM500 cash.  

Second prize was won by Yap Zixin, See Shang Wei and Lim Dee Xian who walked away with a 2-day 1-night stay in the same resort and RM300 cash prize, while third prize consisting of the same 2-day 1-night stay was clinched by Marcus Chua Cheng Wee, Law Wai Khay and Mehreen Hassan. 

Media enquiries : Jocelyn Loke Mei Foong Marketing Communications Manager KDU University College

Telephone : +603 5565 0506

Email :