9 chefs face off in soup contest

KOTA KINABALU: NINE chefs took part in the Imperial Gourmet Soup Challenge yesterday to produce soups comparable to the famous shark’s fin soup.

The variety of soups were composed using ingredients such as abalone, lobster, pumpkin, herbs and shark’s fin melon, among others.

Chef Alex Zee Kwong Yau of Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort (STAR) caught the judges’ attention with his braised shark’s fin melon, lobster, abalone in superior chicken soup delicacy.

“The shark’s fin melon is actually a vegetable. It gets its name from the way its filling breaks when cooked, much like that of a real shark’s fin. Most of the time, people get confused.”

Alex, who has been a chef for nine years, admitted he had tasted shark’s fin soup, but stopped consuming it three years ago.

Based on experience, he described shark’s fin as “tasteless” and not worth the price, adding that he also served the soup when he worked in a seafood restaurant before working with STAR.

“Now, I am making healthy food and soup that are free from shark’s fin.

“I try to come up with a variety of soups to meet customers’ satisfaction, especially during wedding functions.”

Chief judge Datuk Kok Wee Keat, who is former trade and industry minister and former MCA vice-president, presented the prizes and certificates to winners and participants.

Malaysian singer Fauziah Latiff was also invited as a guest judge.

Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort grabbed the second place with its cinnamon-flavoured broth, mushroom salad and crab custard, while Magellan Sutera Habour took the third place with its braised dried and fresh scallop soup with spinach and pumpkin.

Present were Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and City Hall director-general Datuk Yeo Boon Hai.

The cooking contest, organised by Junior Chamber International Tanjung Aru, was aimed at creating an alternative gourmet soup recipe to shark’s fin soup.

Earlier, Masidi said the activity was part of a shark protection campaign and not against people who consumed shark’s fin soup.

“We should protect the sharks because in the tourism and diving industry, sharks contribute to the people and state economy.

“The diving industry generated almost RM2 million. Many divers come to Sabah to see the sharks and we gain so much from diving because we still have sharks here.

“It is not just about saving the sharks. We want to create economic opportunities and jobs for future Sabah generation.”

Source : New Straits Times