5 Teen Chefs Emerged As Champions In MAGGI’s Nationwide Cooking Competition

The recently-concluded MAGGI® Secondary School Cooking Competition 2021 (MSSCC 2021), organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Malaysia, returned this year with the theme “Anda & MAGGI, Sajikan Kelainan Untuk Inspirasi Harian” (You & MAGGI, Serving Different Dishes for Daily Inspiration), set to discover and nurture outstanding culinary talent amongst the youth in Malaysia.

5 Teen Chefs Emerged As Champions In MAGGI’s Nationwide Cooking Competition
MSSCC 2021 Grand Winner, Rafidah Fitri Binti Hamidzol

Approximately 1,000 aspiring young students, aged between 13 to 15 years old from 350 schools across the nation displayed not just their extraordinary cooking talent, but also making the right nutritional choices with the ‘Pinggan Sihat Malaysia’ or ‘Suku-Suku Separuh’ (Malaysian Healthy Plate / Quarter-Quarter Half) concepts towards building healthier eating habits.

Participants were required to submit their recipes in a video format and were judged based on the creative use of ingredients, cooking skills, presentation and culinary inspiration. Four brand-new online learning modules via Google Classroom were also introduced through a collaboration with celebrity Chefs and cooking personalities to support the continuation of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From a total of 16 winners representing 13 states and 3 federal territories, five national winners were eventually selected as champions, comprising of:

  • Rafidah Fitri Binti Hamidzol, 15, from SMK Syed Alwi, Perlis;
  • Muhammad Faaris Salihin Bin Mohd Firdaus, 13, from Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah, Putrajaya;
  • Nursyafiqah Binti Mohd Azmi, 14, from SMK Intan Perdana, Negeri Sembilan;
  • Yap Mei Wei, 13, from SMJK Katholik, Selangor; and
  • Jaymee Ong Miin Li, 15, from SMJK Heng Ee, Pulau Pinang.

The winners share their winning recipes and competition experience here:-

Grand Prize winner Rafidah Fitri Binti Hamidzol said, “My Nasi Ulam and Sate Lilit Ikan Tilapia recipe was inspired by my grandmother's cooking. My teacher, Cikgu Fiza and I experimented with various ingredients derived from plants that I cultivate around the house and MAGGI® products to complement the dishes. We creatively replaced the shrimp paste (belacan) with MAGGI®’s anchovies stock cube and substituted flour with blended MAGGI® instant noodles and Tom Yam stock cubes.” 

Rafidah further explained that she hopes her creative recipe can reintroduce traditional cuisine that is easy to prepare and is nutritious, especially to young people in Malaysia. As for her participation in the competition, she exclaimed excitedly, “It was an exciting experience that I would never forget!”  

First Runner-up Muhammad Faaris Salihin Bin Mohd Firdaus shared about how he began his culinary journey. “After my mother passed away, I was in charge of preparing the dishes for dad and siblings at home. My intention was to make them feel happy once more. My Padang Sauce Shrimp Recipe was inspired by delicious Padang cuisine from Indonesia and has a high nutritional content for a balanced family diet”.

“My recipe contains high nutritional values from various healthy ingredients I used for my recipes such as capsicum, tomato and shrimp. MAGGI® Oyster Sauce and MAGGI® CukupRasa are two must-have items that I added to my dish as my mom often used them,” said Faaris.

Nursyafiqah Binti Mohd Azmi said, “Ever since I was a child, I was very interested in cooking, especially preparing desserts or bread. My Korean egg rolls recipe contains all the elements of a balanced meal - chicken, rice, vegetables, cheese and egg, all seasoned with MAGGI® CukupRasa. This combination of ingredients provides a complete balanced meal, wrapped up in simple, easy-to-eat rolls.”

Throughout the duration of this competition, Nurshafiqah faced various challenges and almost gave up. “Nevertheless, the support and enthusiasm from my family gave me the impetus to keep trying and achieve success!” she said with a smile.

As for Yap Mei Wei, she prepared a Nasi Goreng Rainbow dish because she wanted to serve her family dishes that would give them hope, especially in the face of this pandemic. “To me, the rainbow symbolises hope, joy and success!” she explained.

“My Rainbow Fried Rice recipe uses a lot of vegetables and fruits of different colours, meat and rice and it is a very balanced meal! I steamed and stir-fry the ingredients as it’s a healthier way to prepare them. It looks beautiful, tastes delicious and brings us joy and happiness too!” exclaimed Mei Wei.

Jaymee Ong Miin Li explained that her Bird's Nest recipe symbolises a bond between families. “In most of my dishes, I will use MAGGI® products such as the MAGGI® Chicken Stock Cubes and Oyster Sauce, as it helps bring out the flavourful taste in every cuisine. I believe through a balanced diet, we can further strengthen family ties.”

Throughout this competition, Jaymee says she learned a lot about balanced nutrition that she can practice in her cooking. “My mother’s cooking was a major inspiration and trigger for my interest in the culinary field,” she said of her inspiration to start cooking.

The MSSCC 2021 marks MAGGI®’s 25th year of collaboration with the Ministry of Education Malaysia, serving as a nurturing platform for the younger generation to cultivate culinary and life skills, knowledge and self-efficacy which are critical towards confidence-building and character development in their lives.

According to Geetha Balakrishna, Business Executive Officer of MAGGI®, Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad, “Catering to the new reality post-COVID-19 pandemic, we moved the competition from on-ground activation to a fully virtual platform for the first time this year, enabling all students to participate without compromising on health and safety. As many schoolchildren are still staying home due to the pandemic, this is the opportune time for them to cultivate their cooking skills. This competition continues to serve as a platform for these young talents to showcase their hidden talents as well as a knowledge-sharing opportunity through various educational modules by industry experts.”

The four learning modules consist of:

  • Healthy and Balanced Cooking’ with MAGGI® Chef, Chef Sharifah Hamidah and Nestlé Nutritionist Mrs Ven Luan;
  • Learning Food Safety and Hygiene’ with MAGGI® Chef, Chef Muluk;
  • Professional Food Styling Tips’ with celebrity chef and TV host, Chef Sherson Lian; and
  • Building your Self-confidence’ with Brand Ambassador for MAGGI® CukupRasa, Datin Paduka Eina Azman.

“We hope that these winners of the MAGGI® Secondary School Cooking Competition 2021 will become role models amongst their peers who are looking to take up balanced homemade cooking, just as their parents and teachers were role models to them. It has been an inspirational journey for us at MAGGI® as we witnessed these amazing young cooks bring an abundance of energy, confidence, creativity and culinary skills to the table. With continuous support from the Ministry, schools, teachers, parents and the community, we are humbled that this competition continues to support many young Malaysians in developing their culinary talents and enriching their knowledge in making tasty and balanced meals,” added Geetha.

Get to know the 5 winners of the MAGGI® Secondary School Cooking Competition and their winning recipes here.