SEPANG: Chen Kim Leun’s mother is known for cooking simple food. The Negri Sembilan-born lad, on the other hand, is now known for creating complex dishes that can stand head-to-head with the world’s best.
At 22, Chen is ready to show the world what an outstanding cook he is, and he did so marvellously by clinching a medallion of excellence at the recently concluded 42nd World Skills Competition (WSC) held in Leipzig, Germany.
Open to those who are not older than 22, the WSC is dubbed as the “Olympics” for skilled youth and it provides a biennial platform for highlighting the very best in vocational training.
Every two years, hundreds of young skilled people from all over the world, accompanied by their teachers and trainers, gather together to evaluate themselves against international benchmarks for 46 categories of skilled trades.
A recent graduate in culinary arts from Taylor’s University, Chen did not expect he would go that far, even though he kept his composure while whipping up two appetisers, four main courses and two desserts.
“I never imagined any medals because the competition was stiff and the weather was challenging for me (a rather chilly summer). We were also required to present Western cuisine, which was an advantage for European contestants, but I did not give up,” said Chen, who hails from Bahau.
In the end, although eight other Malaysians also obtained medallions in their respective fields, Chen, who was awarded champion in culinary art at the 2012 Malaysia Skills Competition as well as gold at the Asean Skills Competition, walked away with the highest overall score compared to his fellow Malaysians.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot, who welcomed the contingent home at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday, was beaming with pride.
“This is the 10th time that Malaysia has participated in the WSC and gaining the medallion for excellence has been our best achievement in various categories so far. I believe in the dedication of our skilled youths and I am confident that we can bring back at least one bronze medal at the next WSC, which will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.”
Meanwhile, Chen himself is already aiming high.
“In five years’ time, I wish to see myself performing better at more competitions and hopefully, to run my own fine dining restaurant,” he said.
Source: Star Online – 10th July