KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Calling all aspiring (or avid) cooks: Submit a video of you cooking a dish with ingredients that cost less than US$2.50 (RM10) on Facebook for the Rainbow of Life Forces (ROLF) Cook-On-Budget contest and stand a chance to win prizes.
ROLF is a non-profit community project that hopes to help underprivileged children through instilling good values into the community. With this competition, it aims to encourage youths to cook healthy meals with less food waste and use more locally sourced ingredients. They also hope to promote more home gardening
The contest is open to anyone 12 to 80 years old. For those below 16, a parent or guardian must be present in the video. All entries must be uploaded by May 31.
The panel of judges is made up of three chefs and Chief Media Officer of Ancom Bhd and Malay Mail Group Editor-in-Chief Datuk Wong Sai Wan.
The trio of chefs are Singaporean Melvyn Lee who runs his own travelogue show Accidental Chef, Kedahan home cook Azah Johari who aims to promote authentic Malay food via her YouTube channel Senduk Kayu and Singaporean chef Enoch Teo who has been cooking since 15 with stints at Les Amis and Restaurant Andre.
Teo is happy to be part of this campaign. "I have always believed that good food isn't just food that consists of premium ingredients but just simple ones done right and utilised to the fullest."
After working in fine dining for seven years, he felt there was excessive food wastage in order to ensure each plate is made to look perfect. "I remember that was one of the main reasons I left that scene behind to start my own hawker stall in 2013 where I used every ingredient from nose to tail."
One of Teo's tips for creating nutritious, wallet-friendly meals is to do as much as you can by yourself. He explained, "Processed or ready-to-eat food ingredients always come at the cost of labour, rental and profits made by the manufacturer. By doing it ourselves, everything is cheaper!"
As a youth, Teo was a rebel who got in trouble with the authorities. Eventually, he found his niche in cooking and opened up his own F&B businesses in Singapore.
He now lives in Bangkok after moving there in February last year to participate in the television series The Next Iron Chef Thailand Season Two. After finishing as a semi-finalist and being stuck there due to the pandemic, he originally planned to start a private chef's table dining concept.
That plan was thrown askew with the rise of Covid-19 cases so he pivoted to working with restaurant chains like Baan Ying to sell dishes such as Hainanese chicken rice and Hong Kong roast meats branded under Fatt Chicken Rice via delivery.
"I believe fuss-free food delivery will become a big part of the 'new normal' dining culture," he said. His plans for this year includes opening up Fatt Chicken Rice as a kiosk in the third quarter and hopefully to progress further into a franchise business model.
Hopefully, you are inspired by Chef Enoch's insight into how simple (and cheap) can make good food. Now, get cooking and make that video.