Two Malaysian sushi chefs won big at the World Sushi Cup 2018 in Tokyo last month. Chef Sky Tai emerged the champion while Chef Steve Chua was one of the finalists. The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) celebrated their winning with the media at Le Sucre Studio in Kuala Lumpur last week.
The NSC had played a vital role in their outstanding performance. Both sushi chefs benefited from the Global Sushi Academy training, an initiative sponsored by Norwegian Seafood Council in collaboration with World Sushi Skills Institute, the only officially recognised sushi body in Japan.
The training aims at educating sushi chefs on the traditional art of sushi making and most importantly, the hygienic handling of raw seafood for consumption. Both Sky Tai and Steve Chua trained under the highly regarded sushi chef Hirotoshi Ogawa from Japan who was also one of the judges at World Sushi Cup 2018.
Chef Sky emerged as the winner for the Traditional Edomae Sushi category as well as the winner of the Creative Sushi category, giving him the overall highest score to emerge as champion for World Sushi Cup 2018.
At Le Sucre, Chef Sky recreated his Creative Sushi which he themed Malaysia Truly Asia, representing the major races in Malaysia. “I used Malaysian ingredients,” he said. He had a nasi lemak sushi with rice cooked with coconut in a thin cucumber wrap and topped with squid sambal. He had a char siu sushi, and a Nyonya style otak otak, among these, with a miniature Twin Towers in the background.
He impressed the judges with a tableau of more than 40 pieces of sushi. His Edomae or traditional sushi scored the highest marks too, and together with knife skills and overall image elevated him to winner in the World Sushi Cup 2018. One of his secrets to winning? “It’s total concentration and being oblivious to background noise at the competition.”
This is the third time Chef Sky has taken part in the World Cup Sushi, the previous to occasions being in 2015 and 2016. “The last time I represented Singapore, as I’m working there,” said Sky, who is also known as Tai Koon Siang. He is head chef at Standing Sushi Bar in Singapore and oversees five sushi outlets. He is from Kluang, Johor. He hopes to start a sushi restaurant first in Kuala Lumpur, then in Kluang. “I also hope to start a sushi association here and share my knowledge with other chefs.”
It was Chef Steve Chua’s first time at World Cup Sushi and he did very well, being one of the 20 finalists in the competition. “I’m very happy to have been a finalist in the competition,” he said.
“The Norwegian Seafood Council is committed to raising the standards of sushi chefs be it in terms of skill or safe food handling,” said Jon Erik Steenslid, Regional Director (South-East Asia) of the Norwegian Seafood Council . “As Norwegian salmon is the preferred choice for sushi topping in Malaysia, it is important to NSC that the fresh raw ingredient is handled in the most hygienic manner.”
Chef Sky demonstrated his knife skills with Norwegian salmon at the media event, and together with Chef Steve prepared salmon and other sushi for lunch. Among the sushi on our plate nasi lemak sushi, salmon topped with yuzu mayo and flambeed, hamachi or yellowtail topped with garlic cheese and flambéed, salmon marinated in honey and flambéed.