Every year, cooking competitions are held to shine the spotlight on deserving cooks in the country and recognise their culinary abilities. Awards are given in two categories: food and chef. Contestants are required to create dishes based on a main ingredient and this year they had to work with the ubiquitous and strikingly fragrant pandan leaf as the star.
Under the food awards, there are 3 categories: starter, main course and desserts. Participating hotels and restaurants are required to submit a dish in each category with Pandan leaf as one of the ingredients. It is at these competitions we see original dishes from participating F&B establishments created specially for the event and promoted throughout BGW. They are judged on taste, presentation and creativity. The coveted chef award is given to one chef who impresses the judges with his or her skills, knowledge, and creativity.
The registration for these contests began on 1 December 2021. From 16 February, contestants’ creations were evaluated at scheduled tasting sessions until 3rd March. Working with the theme, 12 participated in this year’s festival, each serving their Pandan leaf-inspired starters, main courses and desserts for two weeks to the public at their own establishment while a panel of judges were tasked to taste the creations and find this year’s stand-out dishes and chef. This year’s judges were:
Matthew Beswick, Hospitality Lecturer and Culinary Assessor at The Culinary School at Laksamana College of Business.
Haji Nasir bin Dato Paduka Latif, the CEO of the Brunei Food Awards.
Wan Zainal Abidin, the publisher of Borneo Insider’s Guide (BiG magazine) and the Design Director of WaMa Designs.