AS a restaurateur with over 15 years’ experience, Chef Darren Chin sure knew what he was talking about when he spoke to the five young R.AGE Food Fight finalists on Saturday.
Chin took time off his busy schedule running DC Restaurant – where dinner costs around RM500 per person – to give the five bright-eyed finalists advice on operating a successful restaurant.
Chin advised the finalists to develop and focus on their own unique culinary style. “If you want a successful restaurant, originality and having your own style is crucial,” he said. “And make sure you have a foundation to go on, and that you are technically sound.”
Chin loves to use quality ingredients and hopes people will use whatever produce the land has to offer as much as possible.
“Using local produce is the true definition of gastronomy. When a certain ingredient is in season, it’s great to use it in your dishes.”
The finalists spent the informative session listening and taking in Chin’s every piece of advice. Kelly Siew, a singer and food blogger with no experience in the restaurant business, described the workshop as refreshing and eye-opening.
“It’s not often you get to speak to a person who runs a successful fine dining restaurant, so it was like getting inside information you can’t get anywhere else,” she said.
Nuril, a new cafe owner from Penang, found the workshop incredibly useful for his own endeavours outside the competition.
“My own business is still new, while Chef Darren has been doing it for over 15 years so I sat in silence and just listened in awe because there was so much to take in,” said Nuril.
After Chin’s hour-long session, the finalists then had the opportunity to learn from another top name in the local food industry – food blogger KY Speaks.
KY spoke to them about the increasing importance of online media to the industry and gave some tips on how to create a successful online presence for their food businesses.
He even had some homework for them! Each finalist had to write a review of the other finalists’ dishes, which they had prepared earlier during a culinary workshop with Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia master chef Rodolphe Onno. He also advised them to create a full suite of social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to leverage on their exposure from the R.AGE Food Fight.
Want to follow the finalists on social media? Check out the R.AGE Food Fight page at rage.com.my/foodfight!