Contributed by Kenny Phang.
In collaboration with Defy Media.
The World Gourmet (WG) together with Tourism Malaysia has officially announced the fifth edition of the World Top Gourmet Awards (WTGA) at the Resort Cafe, Sunway Resort Hotel yesterday. This year’s edition will focus on the theme ‘Resilience and Hope,’ showcasing the dedication and contributions made by both local and international players in the food and beverage (F&B) industry to drive economic growth. Tourism Malaysia was represented by Nurushama Abdul Hanan, Deputy Director, Head of Shopping and
Lifestyle, Tourism Malaysia on behalf of Tourism Malaysia’s director-general, Dato’ Dr. Ammar Abd Ghapar, at the WTGA press conference today alongside the president of WG, Peggy Chong.
Established in 2017, WG has been highly recognized as a platform to promote and support restaurants, chefs, entrepreneurs, cuisines, locally and internationally, to gain recognition in the F&B industry. Throughout the years, WG has offered an array of opportunities beyond culinary awards such as curating food tours, dining experiences, networking events, charity drives, and many more to bring exposure to local and international delicacies.
Peggy Chong highlighted in her speech, “We are proud to host all these different cuisines and delicacies with many talented chefs and unique restaurants as a part of the upcoming award ceremony. We gave out a total of 99 awards last year, so this year we look forward to maintaining this number. With these recognitions, we also hope to boost the business performances of these F&B players as we aim for their increased contributions to the country’s economy where the F&B sector is expected to grow by 8%.”
The World Gourmet president was also awarded the Best Food Award Organiser of the Year and was appointed as the president for AREGALA’s Malaysia Chapter, an association that dedicates itself to supporting and spreading culinary values and heritage as a cultural, social, touristic, historical and educational identity of their nations. Chong also has a new food documentary called “The Gourmet Sense”, hosted by Wong Chui Ling, portraying the behind-the-scenes Chinese food program that documents the journey of the ingredients that go into our food, from the selection process to the table.
The press conference was attended by esteemed guests from Malaysia’s F&B industry including Master Chef Chin Chee Sing (Chef Sun), the newly-appointed World Gourmet Ambassador 2023, and Master Chef Bernard Lee, who gave a speech on behalf of World Gourmet’s Chef of Honor, Adjunct Professor Datuk (Dr.) Redzuawan Ismail, more popularly known as Datuk Chef Wan. The popular celebrity chef could not be present at the press conference after announcing his health issues to the public recently.
Chef Sun, World Gourmet Ambassador 2023 has had a number of world-class experiences under his apron. He has been selected as a judge at the 3rd World Master Chef Competition for Cantonese Cuisine (Malaysia), 13th Culinary Exchange Japan Nagasaki, 14th Shanghai Global Food Trade Show Cooking Demo for Heritage Foods and Malaysia Culinary World Cup 2023, among others.
Nurushama, speaking on behalf of Dato’ Dr. Ammar, said, “Food plays a big role in Malaysia’s tourism expenditures. The World Top Gourmet Awards continues to be a fantastic platform to recognize the F&B industry players, especially for their effort in promoting Malaysian cuisine, allowing consumers to appreciate and experience the various cultural traditions and values in Malaysia that, in many ways, serve as the main ingredients of these delicacies. With such prestigious recognitions, the WTGA can open doors for many of our F&B players to the world, and in turn, for the world to us, to come and experience our unique blend of cultures, arts, and traditions, particularly through our food, contributing to Tourism Malaysia achieving its target of 23.5 million international tourists and RM76.8 billion in tourism expenditures for the expected arrivals and receipts for 2025.”
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia who is also the Minister of Finance announced during the 2023 Budget presentation that the government will allocate RM250 million to promote tourism along with a sum to those who collaborate with Tourism, Arts and Culture industries. As food is a large part of the culture in Malaysia, it is hopeful that the F&B industry is able to contribute to further grow the country’s tourism sector.
Nominations for the World Top Gourmet Awards are evaluated on their potential business growth, overall performance, business strategy, and future plans where the recipients will be awarded at the WTGA in November after the evaluation process. The WTGA were awarded to 99 F&B brands, chefs, personalities and organizations last year, among which were De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan, Mohd Chan Group, Hameediyah, Hainan Village Malayan Kopitiam and Memorie Cafe.
The 5th World Top Gourmet Awards is expected to welcome more international participants as an initiative to promote and support international and multicultural exchanges within the F&B industry. In addition to this, The WTGA will also appoint more Chefs of Honor from different countries as they look forward to shining a light on the chefs that have impacted their community through their cuisine and assisting more SMEs in creating a bigger brand and expanding their existing enterprise. The World Top Gourmet Awards ceremony will be held at the Grand Ballroom, Sunway Resort Hotel on 1 November 2023. Further information can be retrieved from www.worldgourmet.biz.