Gordon Ramsay isn’t all that the world is serving up. Look into your own backyard for some amazing chefs bring our amazing Malaysian food everywhere else in the world. I mean c’mon, how can any Malaysian be bad chefs. Even the way I cook instant noodles managed to intrigue my non-Malaysian housemates. So, here’s some epic local chefs for you to take inspiration from in your next cooking adventure… or just your next meal.
This chef is the Chinese Head Chef for Prince Hotel and Residence Kuala Lumpur’s Chinese restaurant, Tai Zi Heen. Chef Michael Wong is probably the most prominent chef in Malaysia. He has more than 26 years of expert cooking and kitchen administration skills and has built an empire that started from just helping his mom in the kitchen. His biggest motivation is his teacher from Hong Kong who showed him how to cook really great Cantonese Cuisine. He brings the true taste of Cantonese food into contemporary dishes which bring out unique flavours with a current twist. One of his most famous dishes is the Tiger Prawn with Garlic Mayonnaise which everyone just needs to try out.
Another big name is Chef Wan who is more known for his time on TV in his own cooking show. Also known as Redzuawan Ismail, Chef Wan was actually a bookkeeper first before he became the talented chef we know today. After seeing Asian food in other western countries, he decided to bring our epic Malaysian food and other South East Asian cuisines to other countries, using ingredients from those countries itself to give it a unique twist. He won the Best Celebrity Television Chef of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2009 and is Tourism Malaysia’s culinary ambassador.
This chef is a third-era Nonya whose family still resides in Penang. Her grandfather ran a kopitiam which her father then transformed into a genuine eatery. She then built a Kopitiam of her own to keep the tradition of Nony food alive. Her restaurant’s nasi lemak, pulut inti, kaya spread toast and other dishes has also gotten rave reviews from many and her kopitiam was even featured on The New York Times Critics’ Pick.
This talented chef started her passion when she was a child, watching her mom and six sisters cook. She has since then graduated with a certificate from the Food Institute of Malaysia in 2008. Anis has competed in numerous universal cooking competitions held all around Malaysia, winning many honours and awards.
Hailing from Tanjung Malim, Perak, this chef moved to New York and opened his own restaurant, Jefferson, which became even more famous when it was featured in Sex and the City. However, it was shut down after Wong endured a heart attack in 2005. Thankfully, Wong recovered and later on opened two more restaurants; Chomp Chomp and Cafe Asean. And even though he calls his style of cooking Singaporean, we all know it’s Malaysian, right Mr. Wong? Right?!
This chef put Malaysia on the map when she won Masterchef UK in 2014 with her take on the Nasi Lemak and the Wonton Soup. Even though she has lived in the UK for more than 15 years, she still looks to Ipoh, the place she grew up in, to inspire her dishes. Her first cookbook, titled Malaysia: Recipes from a Family Kitchen, looks at all the dishes that she loves from her childhood. Since her victory as Masterchef, she became a Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador – promoting our good around the UK and abroad – whilst also giving talks about our food at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Other than appearing in big food festivals, she is also the Executive Chef to Chi Kitchen, a Pan Asian Restaurant, splitting her time between London and Birmingham.
She had also recently launched her cooking classes in Fulham early April this year. She also hosts pop-ups with the latest being with one of her food heroes and Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar. She has also appeared in John Torode’s Malaysian Adventure and was a guest chef on the popular daytime talk show This Morning, Sunday Brunch and more. Wow.
This fifth-generation street food vendor moved to San Francisco where the only thing that could comfort her in the beginning was cooking food she grew up eating. The pastry-trained chef cooked so often that over time, word got out about her amazing home-cooked meals, turning her hobby into a business in 2010. In 2009, Bon Apetit magazine named her one of their top 10 upcoming chefs for 2010 and was also honoured by Women’s Initiative for Self Improvement for being an ‘Enterprising Woman on the Rise’ in 2012. She had even cared food for President Obama. Omg.