Ashwin Nicholas Oon creates history as he beats 15 culinary arts students from around the world in this international competition
Ashwin Nicholas Oon from Taylor’s University School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts (TCHT) has proved himself a formidable talent in culinary arts by winning the inaugural Young Chef Olympiad competition which took place in Kolkata, India recently.
The 22-year beat culinary arts students from nations renowned for culinary arts such as France, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom and more to clinch the title of Champion for this international competition.
Ashwin, who’s currently in the final year of his degree in culinary arts and food service management, shared that he was quite confident of his performance in the semi-finals of the competition.
“Even though I fell behind schedule in preparing the three dishes for the semi-final initially, I was able to make up the difference within the first hour. I then pushed myself to meet the schedule for the remaining two hours and was able to deliver a really satisfying performance.
“The judges gave me really positive feedback for each of the dishes I served up. For the appetizer, which was a fish brioche, they were stunned that I was able to execute the in two hours. They were also really impressed with the dish and shared that it was cooked perfectly for them.
“They were also appreciative of the main course that I came up with, the stuffed chicken breast. They shared that the chicken was cooked perfectly and was juicy. They were also really impressed with my choice of garnish-pommes maxim, which is garnish that is made of thinly sliced potatoes which are arranged in an overlapping circle and pan-fried in butter until golden and crispy.
“They were also impressed with the dessert, mango mousse, and the way it was plated.
“I was really satisfied with my performance as I outperformed my own personal training time at Taylor’s. When my name is called out during the announcement of the finalists, I was elated that I was able to take Malaysia’s reputation to another level.
“It was only after the semi-final that my peers looked at me as a formidable talent and I was recognized for my talent and ability,” he shared, adding that that moment was the best experience of the competition for him.
For the finals, Ashwin served up a dish named "Spinach & cottage cheese chartreuse with tomato peppers nage, madras curry oil & broccoli" which featured half of the ingredients provided for the last leg of the competition.
“I was able to deliver a technical dish with ease thanks to the training and tutelage I received while at Taylor’s. My coach, Chef Farouk Othman, allowed me to push my boundaries with his approach which allowed the freedom to be independent when coming up with the menu choices. “I settled on this dish as I just finished a 6-week internship with Chef Franck Putelat, a 2-star Michelin chef in France. Working with him was an unforgettable experience and I am glad that I was able to do thanks to TCHT,” shared Ashwin.
Taylor’s University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Dato’ Dr. Hassan Said shared that Ashwin is an embodiment of the method Taylor’s University empowers its students through education.
“At Taylor’s, we believe that all our students have the qualities to set themselves apart from the rest. Through our teaching and learning approach, we hope to bring out the shining qualities of our student and allow them to be leaders of their own right.
“I am extremely proud of Ashwin’s latest achievement and look forward to reading more of his accomplishments in the near future,” said Professor Hassan.
Ashwin will be representing Malaysia in WorldSkills Oceania 2015 in New Zealand next month as well as in the World Skills competition in São Paulo, Brazil in August.