MALAYSIA’S PREMIER MONTH OF FINE DINING COMES TO A DELICIOUS END
Kuala Lumpur, 4 December 2007: The month long Malaysia International Gourmet Festival drew to a spectacular close with the Grand Finale Dinner at Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa last night. The glittering Oscar style awards ceremony, in the presence of 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, YBM Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, the Minister of Tourism, was attended by some 1000 guests representing the who’s who of Malaysian society.
The Hilton KL’s Senses won the prestigious Golden Cauldron Award for the best all round restaurant of the festival while Chef Dirk Haltenhof of the Mandarin Oriental’s Pacifica restaurant bagged all three awards in the inaugural Malaysia Truly Asia Cuisine Showcase including best chef of the showcase. A Special Festival Achievement Award was given to Lafite for winning four successive Golden Cauldron Awards. The traditional Chefs’ Charity Auction also saw celebrity auctioneer and sports personality, Justin Samson, generating bids worth RM313,000 for Yayasan Budi Penyayang a foundation for needy Malaysians.
In true MIGF 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, aided by 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.
The Oscar-style awards presentation had all participating restaurants on the edge of their seats, waiting to see if their month of immense effort had paid off. Said Dato’ Steve Day, “These awards are taken very seriously. With each passing year, the bar is raised higher, due to the toughness of our panel of judges as well as the high standards the Festival restaurants have set. Time and again restaurants have risen to the challenge of being more innovative and creative in their cuisine and presentation.”
This year, a record 13 awards were presented, including the new the Malaysia Truly Asia Cuisine Showcase awards.
The Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2007 award winners were: The Golden Cauldron Award for Best All Round Restaurant, Senses; Festival Special Achievement Award, Lafite; Best Marketed Restaurant, The Olive; Most Creative Dining Experience, QBa. Most Creative Festival Menu, Senses; Most Outstanding Festival Cuisine at the Gala Launch, Hilton KL (Chynna, Iketeru and Senses); Best Malaysia Truly Asia Cuisine Menu, Chef Dirk Haltenhof (Pacifica); Best Malaysia Truly Asia Cuisine Signature Dish, Chef Dirk Haltenhof (Pacifica); Best Chef of the Malaysia Truly Asia Cuisine Showcase, Chef Dirk Haltenhof (Pacifica); Most Innovative Cuisine, Pacifica; Most Outstanding Service Team, Tai Zi Heen; Best Value Menu of the Festival, Bossa Nova; Most Creative Restaurant Display at the Gala Launch, Tamarind Springs
Guests were also treated to a superb surprise performance by ‘Figaro’, Australia’s equivalent to global operatic superstars, ‘Il Divo’. The four vocal virtuosos literally 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 realise 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 MIGF, 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.
Organised by Asia Reach Events, this year’s Gourmet Festival took place from 2 to 30 November. After a month of fine dining, Dato’ Steve Day said “I can safely say this has been our biggest and most successful Festival yet. We started with a record number of participating restaurants and ended with a record number of Festival diners. In November alone we received over 1 million hits on the www.migf.com website. In conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007, this year’s MIGF has clearly contributed to our vibrant local restaurant scene, and has firmly established Malaysia on the world food tourism map.”
“The aim when we started the Gourmet Festival seven years ago was to promote the qualities of the world class chefs already resident in Malaysia and emphasise the all-year-round capabilities of our restaurants as well as the fantastic value they can give diners. We wanted to increase the overall population of diners with a collective marketing approach with all restaurants working together for the common good. The success of our festivals so far, particularly MIGF 2007, proves that this approach has been the right one”.
The Chairman is optimistic that next year may prove to be even bigger. “We’ve had a great response to the new additions to the Festival this year, including our gourmet tour packages and the Malaysia Truly Asia Cuisine Showcase. Queries for next year have already started pouring in for 2008 and we’re excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.”