'Rendanggate' judges explain themselves

PETALING JAYA • A MasterChef UK judge criticised for his "crispy skin" chicken rendang remark has now claimed that he meant that the meat was "not cooked".

Appearing with fellow judge John Torode on the British breakfast programme Good Morning Britain (GMB) on Wednesday, Mr Gregg Wallace said: "I said the skin wasn't crispy. I didn't mean it wasn't fried like fried chicken."

"What I meant was that it wasn't cooked. It simply wasn't cooked."

Anger over the so-called "rendanggate" incident bubbled over on social media this week after the TV judges criticised Malaysian-born chef Zaleha Kadir Olpin's nasi lemak dish that was accompanied by a side of chicken rendang.

Ms Zaleha was booted out of the BBC cooking competition on Monday after the judges disapproved of her rendition of the curry dish, with Mr Wallace saying "the chicken skin isn't crispy, it can't be eaten".

Asked on GMB to explain why Ms Zaleha was dismissed from the competition Mr Wallace said that she was sent home because "the other cooks were better".

GMB host Kate Garraway then reminded him: "But you said crispy."

Mr Wallace hit back, saying: "Rest assured, the best cooks will always go through."

Many on social media had also questioned if the two judges were qualified to be criticising Asian food.

But Mr Torode defended their decision, noting that he had previously done a TV series on Malaysian food, describing it as "fantastic".

After Ms Garraway pointed out that he should have known then how rendang should be prepared, Mr Torode replied in the affirmative.

"Well, I do. I said to her, it wasn't cooked enough," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2018, with the headline ''Rendanggate' judges explain themselves'. Print Edition | Subscribe