Interview with the Winner of Washoku World Challenge (WWC) 2016
Mr. Cheong Cherng Long from Malaysia
Oribe Sushi Restaurant Chef Assistant
Why did you submit an entry to WWC 2016?
My master chef Oritsuki-san recommended WWC 2016 to me, saying it should be a great occasion to improve on my 10 years of working experience and knowledge. Another reason was that I wanted to present my dishes and receive professional comments and reviews from the judges in Japan.
How was your original dish born?
I have been learning to cook Japanese cuisine for more than 10 years from different chefs, so I developed my cooking skills in a unique way. This helped me to come up with the idea for my dish; a mini kaiseki set on one plate, to express my experience through colorful tastes, textures, and styles.
How was your stay in Japan? Was it exciting to communicate with other chefs from all over the world?
It was a great trip and a joy, because it was a good experience that improved my skills and I learned a lot of knowledge through this competition. It was also an important time for me, because I met other chefs from all around the world. We still keep in touch and share cooking ideas with each other.
Did you receive a lot of attention in your country after WWC2016? (from the media, other chefs, and so on)
After WWC2016, I received many greetings from customers and other chefs. Lots of media came to interview me. I am so happy because after I shared my experience with them, more people in Malaysia began to know about washoku.
What is your next goal?
I hope to keep improving my skills, and gain more experience and knowledge to reach a higher level. My dream is to run my own business, like a ryokan that serves kaiseki, because I like Kyoto's machiya style.
A message for participants of the next WWC, please!
I hope the participants will try their best and enjoy this competition. WWC helps a lot to improve your skills and increase your knowledge of washoku, and gives you a chance to see how much potential you have. Also it lets you connect with other chefs from around the globe. Please give as much effort as you can to create your dishes.
“Out of the box” is a key phrase. If you think you can, YOU CAN! WWC is a place to make your dreams come true.