Chefs’ Charity Raises over RM300, 000 at Malaysia International Gourmet Festival
Kuala Lumpur, 4 December 2007: The traditional Chefs’ Charity Auction at the Grand Finale Dinner of the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, held at Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa on 3 December, saw celebrity auctioneer and sports personality, Justin Sampson, collecting bids worth RM313,166. 00 from some 1000 guests representing the who’s who of Malaysian society, for Yayasan Budi Penyayang.
Assisting Sampson in the auction was well known corporate personality Mr. Nick Lough; Christie’s KL representative, Ms. Lim Meng Hong; and Mr.Toby Bonham, a scion of Bonham’s the famous London Auction House.
Present at the glittering Grand Finale, which included a Oscar style awards ceremony, were Royal Guest of Honour, the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan, DYMM Tuanku Ja’afar ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman; the Festival’s Royal Patron, YAM Tunku Laksamana Negeri Sembilan Tunku Naquiyuddin Ibni Tuanku Ja’afar and Guest of Honour, the Minister of Tourism, YBM Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
“Every year, we have the Chefs’ Charity Auction – which is an opportunity for us all to give something back to the community and reach out to the less fortunate, “ said the festival’s Organising Chairman, Dato’ Steve Day, “The chefs are always very generous with their time and I must thank them all. Our guests have also been brilliant tonight in responding to the auctioneers. We’re all delighted for Penyayang.”
Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia, a foundation that benefits all needy Malaysians, was started by Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood, the beloved late wife of Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi. “We must thank the chefs, the bidders and the festival restaurants for their generosity and warm heartedness,” said Penyayang’s Chairman, Nori Abdullah daughter of Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi as she received the proceeds from the Royal Patron of the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival, Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Tuanku Ja’afar, the Minster of Tourism, Dato’Seri Tengku Adnan bin Mansor and Dato’ Steve Day.
During the auction each Master Chef of the Festival offers to cook for a party of up to ten guests either at their restaurant or in their home. Guests were also treated to a superb surprise performance by ‘Figaro’, Australia’s equivalent to global operatic superstars, ‘Il Divo’. The four vocal virtuosos went undercover during the Chef’s Charity Auction, disguised as visiting chefs to Malaysia. When one broke out in song, it took a moment for the audience to realize it was all a set up. The talented performers brought the house down with a magnificent rendition of ‘Unchained Melody’ and had guests so enthralled they had to come back later in the night for an encore performance. In Kuala Lumpur just for the Festival, the singers said they had really enjoyed the event and were “especially impressed that people were so generous in their bidding for charity”. So impressed in fact that two of the group decided to join in and be auctioned off with Chef Kevin from Lafite, a deal which was snapped up by fashion doyen and businesswoman Dato’ Farah Khan for RM30,000.
This year Chef Michael Elfwing of Senses received the highest individual bid of RM20,000. Ulysse Nardin donated a watch which went for RM39,000 while a walking cane autographed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi and to be presented by him personally was sold for an amazing RM20,000.
Earlier in the evening and in true Malaysia International Gourmet Festival style, guests were treated to a spectacular launch gambit which brought a whole new meaning to the Festival’s tag line ‘Sizzling Hot Chefs’. A sporting Tunku Naquiyuddin, and Dato’ Seri Tengku Adnan, both dressed in full chef’s attire, mounted steps on the stage and threw fresh vegetables into a massive pan, created especially for the event. Inside the pan, the Festival’s 30 Master Chefs and Organising Chairman, Dato’ Steve Day, jumped and spluttered as they were simmered for dinner!
The riotous opening, which had guests in fits of laughter, was followed by an evening of activities. Chefs were released from the pan, guests were served their real dinner and the 2007 Festival Awards were presented.