PIFF Professional Chef Challenge – Head Judge

Dato’ Chef Haji Ismail

Originated from a small Malay village in Negeri Sembilan, Chef Ismail was introduced to cooking by his grandmother, an avid food lover and cook. Chef Ismail discovered his passion from trying out the herbs, spices and fresh produce from orchards which were growing in abundance around him. Looking back, Chef Ismail recollects that helping his grandmother in the kitchen has certainly helped to pave his career path in kitchen.

Creating scrumptious dishes that whet one’s appetite is Chef Ismail’s enthusiasm and passion. He treasures the traditional culinary recipes and has decided to leave his hometown to further develop his interest.

Street Food Festival

Plilip Yoong

Plilip has entered the profession for 18 years, and is a well-known host in food and cooking program/show. Besides, he has been chosen at many occasions as a representative for both national and international cooking competitions, where he won numerous awards. In addition, he was a professor in Khushu Shin Choong Hung Association as well as a chef-columnist for YumYum magazines. He has published 8 of his personal albums and collections, the latest taste of nostalgia, and currently, he is an ambassador of 4 Malaysian restaurants in Taiwan.

Workshop > Cooking Class: Malay Cuisine

Chef Faten Rafie

Experimenting in the kitchen since she was seven, Penang-born Faten Rafie comes from a family of great cooks & experienced food caterers.  Her cooking style reflects her multi-cultural surroundings; in addition to mastering local dishes, she’s passionate about Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, mad about Japanese food and loves the culinary offerings the rest of the world has to offer.

Besides cooking a storm for family and loved ones as well as curating food offerings for corporations and private events, Faten spends her time surfing the internet and poring over cookbooks for inspiration and ideas on getting more people passionate about the art of good food.  She is a purveyor of artisanal spices and personally hand blends all the spice mixes at her “spice lab” located amongst the lush green herbs and vegetables farm at the foothills of Relau on the food haven island of Penang.

Faten’s entrepreneurial endeavors and the quality of the products have not gone unnoticed by the media and some government agencies; the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) ‘Excellence Award for Future Exporter 2016’ is just one of the many accolades she’s earned.

Meet the Expert > Meet the Chef

Nyonya Su Pei

Born and bred in Penang, Nyonya Su Pei was schooled in the art of Peranakan cooking by her grandma-in-law and mother-in-law, who imparted to her over 500 prized family recipes for Northern and Southern specialties. A regular cooking instructor at Penang’s Tropical Spice Garden, Nyonya Su Pei is one of three main contributors to the bestselling, landmark Penang Peranakan cookbook ‘Nonya Flavours’ produced by the Star Publications and the State Chinese (Penang) Association. Together with her husband Baba Jerry, Su Pei also cooks and presents Peranakan private dining experiences, which have been featured on several international TV and video series, including NHK Japan’s ‘Dining With The Chef’, Malaysia’s Astro AEC’s ‘Comfort Food Recipes’, and BBC Travel’s ‘RSVP Abroad’. Proud to be ambassadors for their food heritage, Su Pei and Jerry are taking Nyonya cuisine to a new level, pairing it with wine, and re-imagining them as tapas. Check her work out at www.nyonyasupei.com

Taste of Penang

Adolf Tan Seong Pin

Chef Adolf, a native Malaysian Chinese, born in George Town, Penang, is an Award-Winning Chef in International Food and Chinese Cuisines.

Chef Adolf have honed many traditional culinary skills such as Imperial Noodle Pulling (La Mian) whereby he was the 1st Malaysian Chinese Chef to represent Penang, Malaysia in demonstrating La Mian in the HOFEX competition held in Hong Kong in 2003. Chef Adolf have the confident and charisma to perform in front of many foreign dignitaries.

Striving for culinary excellent, Chef Adolf competed and has won medals and awards in numerous competitions such as the Golden Award in the International Gourmet Exhibition held in Xian China in 2006; the 6th China Food Festival and 19th Guangzhou International Food Festival in 2005; and in the 3rd International Food Exposition and Chef Master Challenge in conjunction with The 5th China Food Festival and 1st Chongqing Hot Pot Cultural Festival in 2004. He was conferred the Master Chef Golden Award in China, and in year 2000, named the Most Outstanding Chef of the Year in Penang.

Recently, Chef Adolf attained and renewed his approval Judge “B” license from The World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).

Darren Tan

Chef Darren was the senior Lecturer in KDU university college. Since young,  he was always interested in tasting different food and how they are prepared.  His sharp taste bud has since become one of his biggest assets; enabling him to identify different tastes accurately and create a wide variety of tastes and flavours for a wide range of products.

He is also passionate about using his master chef skills to raise the level of contemporary cooking and modern cuisine, delivering healthy products that are does not only look and taste good, but also good for a healthy lifestyle.

His success in academic achievements was attributed to years of hard-work and self-driven discipline in staying focus and overcoming both academic and career challenges along the way. Through many culinary competitions, he has accumulated both experiences and skills needed to become a better Chef today.   He is an experienced competitor who have many awards under his belt.

Eddie Choong

Chef Eddie Choong, PKT, PJK – With over 30 years of experiences in pastry and bakery, Chef Eddie is now the principal of the Chef Eddie Choong Bake and Culinary Centre Sdn Bhd, located in Penang’s Butterworth. He is also the Certified Assessor for The Great Britain College Consortium and Action Learning Registered Coach for International Management Centre Association UK.

Chef Eddie is the consultant for Prestasi Flour Mills (M) Sdn Bhd, and has recently been appointed as the ambassador for Milux Sales & Services Sdn Bhd.

Chef  Eddie was awarded Gold Medal with Distinction in the International Salon Culinaire Food and Hotel 2001 and Gold Medal with Excellence in FHA Culinary Challenge in Singapore 2006 for 3 Tier Wedding Cake Category.

Chef Eddie was conferred the Pingat Kelakuan Terpuji (PKT) in conjunction with the commemoration of Penang State Governor on 15th August 2016. He was also appointed as Penang Chefs Association Pastry Alliance Chairman.

Fong Wei Cheong

Chef Fong Wei Cheong, or Chef Fat Fong as Penagites calls him, pursued his Culinary Studies after secondary school. His objective was to be a successful entrepreneur in his career as a chef.
In 1998, he was studied Diploma in Professional Chef Training at the Culinary Art Centre (CAC) where he won “The Most Outstanding Student Award” and completed his training at the Shangri-La Hotel, Penang. Upon completing his diploma, Chef Fat worked as a Commis III at Shangri-La Hotel, Penang. In year 2000, he joined the Eastern & Oriental Hotel’s Sarkies Corner Coffee House as their Demi Chef.

After a year, Chef Fat was promoted to Assistant Promenade Chef (The Promenade Food Outlet) by the Eastern & Oriental Restaurant. At his young age, he wanted to gain knowledge and experience of the industry, and decided to transfer to Yi Fu Yuan (Hong Kong Cuisine), Kuala Lumpur as a Junior Sous Chef for 2 years.

In year 2002, Chef Fat was transferred back to Sarkies Corner Coffee House and was promoted to Sous Chef in 2005. In year 2010, he was promoted to Senior Sous Chef and he transferred to the Lone Pine Hotel (the sister hotel of Eastern & Oriental Hotel)

After being with the Eastern & Oriental group for 14 years, he decided to take a challenge and joined D3DYN Sdn Bhd (Botanica Mansion, Balik Pulau) as Executive Chef.

Mohamed Bakri bin Mohamed Said

Chef Mohamed Bakri has over 30 years of experience in the culinary scene, with his latest posting as Sous Chef in Eastin Hotel, Berjaya George Town and recently at the The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences.

His recent contribution is his appointment as Organizing Chairman for the Penang International Halal Chef Challenge spanning four years (2014 – 2017)

Chef Bakri was also part of the Penang Team at the Qilian International Green Food Festival for 3 years (2014 – 2016), and was also committee in various events organised by the Penang Chefs Association including the Penang Beach Carnival and Committee in Battle of the Chefs Competition, Asia Food Festival and many more.

For his contributions to the Penang State culinary and hospitality, he was conferred PJM (2012) and PJK (2016).

Chef Bakri is also Advisor and Vocational Training Officer (Pegawai Pengesah Luaran) for UiTM, GIATMARA and Politeknik Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin.

Pearly Kee

Pearly Kee is a fifth-generation Penang Nyonya and a popular food ambassador for Penang. Her authentic Nyonya cooking classes have attracted students from all over the world, including celebrity chefs, professionals and true foodies drawn by her cheeky, feisty style.

In addition to her popular cooking classes, Pearly regularly travels around the world in her role as a Nyonya food consultant to various restaurants, hotels and airlines catering.

She is the author of two cookbooks “A Nyonya Inheritance” and “Pearly’s Nyonya Pantry” which can be found in majority of bookstores throughout Malaysia. She has also been featured on numerous international cooking programmes alongside top chefs such as Ainsley Harriott and UK Masterchef judge, John Torode.

Workshop > Cooking Class: Indian Cuisine

Viji Reitberger

Viji has been cooking for her family since young and coming from a Malacca Straits Chinese background, cooking at the kitchen with her mother has always been a part of her growing up life. Now having to travel back and forth Malaysia & Germany where her husband’s family lives and having stayed there for a few years, Viji still call Penang her “home”.

For Viji, cooking is therapeutic and can give such an awesome feeling of satisfaction…when food prepared with love and devotion. Specialized in Indian & Eurasian cuisines, Viji’s signature dishes are Portuguese Devil’s Curry, Chicken Tikka & Fish Tandoori Masala.

Dining > Cheong Fatt Tze’s Feast

Beng Weng Chia

A graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, Chef Weng honed his skills for over 10 years in distinguished restaurants across Australia, the USA and Malaysia. He now brings his extensive culinary experience to Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, where he helms Indigo restaurant.

This Penang-born chef with a passion for creating good food has truly come home, combining his wide-ranging experience from around the world with his precise understanding and utmost respect for the local Penang gastronomy. The resulting stream of delectable signature dishes produced by the kitchen at Indigo is testament to his creativity and skill.

Tour > Orchard & Ecolodge Tour

Mathjis Nanne

Currently the executive chef of Suffolk House, Mathijs Nanne, originally from the Netherlands, spent his formative years cooking in the Australian food capital, Sydney. Malaysia followed, where he run the kitchens of some of the most exciting restaurants in Langkawi and Penang. He was part of the opening teams of Straits Club Restaurant (Temple Tree Resort, Langkawi) and China House (Penang), after which he joined the YKH group of restaurants, where he was the executive chef of 32 at the Mansion. No stranger to the local herbs and spices, Mathijs deftly combines European cooking techniques with the vibrant flavours Penang has to offer. He is a strong believer of using locally sourced produce.

Fringe Food Festival

Danny Kho

From a background of branding & marketing to co-founder of Plat Kitchen, Danny Kho is a self-taught cook & a food enthusiast. Obsessed with local culinary & ingredients, he has a dream of reintroducing the local elements, creatively and imaginatively. He enjoys tinkering with tastes from different parts of cultures to a plate of honest food with flavours uncompromised.

His passion project ÉNFD (énfold) is a humble restaurant in the heart of Penang; along with experiences with Cosans Coffee (KL) and Plat Kitchen (Malacca), ÉNFD is a stage to share exciting culinary experiences from his Dr. Frankenstein nature.

Jack Yeap

After graduating with a Diploma in Culinary Arts, Chef Jack joined Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and worked as part of the re-opening team under the chefs at Ferringi Grill. His big break came when he was recruited by Raffles Hotel in Singapore.  There, he worked in different kitchens within the hotel and one of the highlights of Chef Jack’s career was to work under Chef Jean-Charles Dubois at Raffles Grill.  After a few years at Raffles Hotel, he was then offered a position by Chef Armin Leitgeb to join Les Amis Singapore, one of the six restaurants in Singapore that was awarded with 2 Michelin Stars.

Jeffrey Tan

After graduating from the Taiwan YuenPei University with distinction in Culinary Arts, Jeffrey was offered the chance to join 5-star Sheraton Hsinchu Hotel Taiwan from 100s of other applicants. Here is where he started his career in French pastry. He was endorsed to join world famous pastry chef Koichi Izumi & Makito Hiratsuka in their private training master class. At a young age of 27, he has consulted in the setup of several well-established Patisseries and Bakeries in Penang. At Metisser Patisserie, he had hosted several prestigious brand collaboration such as Glenlivet Whiskey pairing with Ambassador Lionel Lau.