Bringing Glory To Malaysia At The World’s 1st Young Chef Olympiad 2015
Taylor’s University student, Ashwin Nicholas Oon, proves to be a formidable talent as he beats contestants from 15 countries
Three months after his momentous win, Ashwin Nicholas Oon from Taylor’s University School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts (TCHT) was celebrated by his peers and management for winning the inaugural World’s 1st International Young Chef Olympiad 2015, which took place in Kolkata, India earlier this year.
The 22-year beat culinary arts students from nations renowned for culinary arts such as France, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom and more to win this international competition. During the presentation ceremony, Ashwin was presented with a cheque for US$10,000 (RM35,578) along with a gold trophy, a gold medal and a certificate, besides being crowned the Young Chef global ambassador.
Ashwin, who’s currently in the final year of his degree in culinary arts and food service management, shared that he was quite confident of his performance in the semi-finals of the competition.
“The judges gave me really positive feedback for each of the dishes I served up. For the appetizer, which was a fish brioche, they were stunned that I was able to execute the in two hours. They were also really impressed with the dish and shared that it was cooked perfectly for them,” he said.
For Ashwin, his performance at Kolkata was one that he was really satisfied with as he outperformed his own personal training time at Taylor’s.
“When my name is called out during the announcement of the finalists, I was elated that I was able to take Malaysia’s reputation to another level. It was only after the semi-final that my peers looked at me as a formidable talent and I was recognized for my talent and ability,” he shared, adding that that moment was the best experience of the competition for him.
Ashwin put down his ability to deliver a technical dish with ease thanks to the training and tutelage he received at Taylor’s. He shared his appreciation for the coaching style that his coach, Chef Farouk Othman, adopts as it allowed him to push his boundaries and provided him the opportunity to be independent when coming up with the menu choices.
“I settled on this dish as I just finished a 6-week internship with Chef Franck Putelat, a Michelin star chef in France. Working with him was an unforgettable experience and I am glad that I was able to do thanks to TCHT,” shared Ashwin.
Taylor’s University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Dr Pradeep Nair stated that Ashwin has done the country, and Taylor’s, proud on numerous occasions over the last year.
“His dedication to perfecting his craft is evident in the hours that he spends in the kitchen, working on his own and with his chef lecturer and mentor, Chef Farouk Othman. He is the embodiment of this generation of learners, those who are passionate about what they are studying about and are willing to go the distance to achieve their dreams,” said Dr Pradeep.
The presentation ceremony was preceded by the inking of Memorandum of Understanding with the organizing body of the International Young Chef Olympiad, International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM).
Dr Pradeep shared that the collaboration with IIHM will enable Taylor’s to enhance the capabilities as one of the country’s leading tourism and hospitality education providers.
“Through the partnership, we will be collaborating on a few areas, namely research collaboration in the area of Tourism and Hospitality between Taylor’s University and IIHM as well as opportunities for mobility between Taylor’s and IIHM, including the possibility of student field trips and faculty exchange. The collaboration will also enable students from both institutions to participate in internship and industrial training opportunities,” he said.
IIHM Founder & Chairman, Dr Suborno Bose shared that Ashwin greatly impressed the judging panel of the Olympiad with his prowess.
“The chairman of our selection committee, Professor David Foskett shared that Ashwin is a culinary engineer who cooks and presents his dishes with exact precision,” he said, while urging students to dream big and develop an international thought process.
Ashwin started his culinary competition journey with a win in the 2013 Culinaire Competition which saw him walk away with a silver medal in the hot cooking category. He continued his winning streak by being named Champion of the Nestlé Professional Culinary Arts Awards 2014. He then went on to conquer the cooking category in the ASEAN Skills competition in Hanoi last year, picking the highest points among all the competitiors from all nations to be named Best of Nation.
Ashwin will be representing the country in the World Skills competition in São Paulo, Brazil in August.