[By Luqman Abdullah]
Taylor’s University hosted the EPIC Cook Off showdown between two of the culinary school’s prized students, Masterchef contestant Arshad Zamir and Young Chef Olympiad winner Ashwin Nicolas Oon.
While the two chefs did not do battle directly, the two coached their team of participants, which included hitz.fm disc jockeys, Arnold and Ryan.
The contestants were required to make a pasta dish that included a mystery ingredient (chili) in thirty minutes. After a brief demo from the superstar chefs, the teams began to gather their ingredients and with the assistance of other Taylor’s culinary students, began to prepare their dishes.
Both teams cooked valiantly, but in the end Team Zamir and hitz DJ Ryan claimed victory over their counterparts.
“It feels good to beat Ashwin” said Chef Zamir after the announcement, “obviously it’s all fun and games and at the end of the day Ryan made the dish, but it’s definitely nice to see my contestant win”
This was the 2nd iteration of the EPIC challenge, and since Chef Ashwin’s contestant won the 1st leg it would appear that the score is now tied.
ETC. had the privilege of speaking to Chef Zamir following the event. Here’s what he had to say:
ETC: What were your main reasons for taking part in this event?
Chef Zamir: Well, obviously to beat Ashwin (laughs). Well, I like to share my experience as well as show what I’ve learned. A lot of people who do SPM have a hard time knowing what comes next with our parent’s expectations and peer pressure, it’s a very tough decision. I myself used to be in engineering and I want to show people that if they have a passion for cooking, they should pursue it.
ETC: What do you think has made you so successful in terms of what you’ve done so far?
Chef Zamir: Well, like most chefs, I cook things that I like to eat, and I like big, bold flavors. For example if I put basil in something, I put a lot of basil. I am much more concerned about the taste of my dish than the appearance of it and I think that my attention to flavor is what has made me successful so far.
ETC: What is your inspiration as far as being a chef is concerned?
Chef Zamir: I think the perfect ending for any chef is seeing the smile on people’s faces when they taste my food. Seeing people enjoy themselves and the people around them in the company of my food.
ETC: Obviously, you just took part in the Masterchef competition. When you were at your lowest points in the competition, what is it that brought you back?
Chef Zamir: During the Masterchef All-Star season I had a really rough patch around 2 or 3 weeks in, where I completely lost my inspiration. I didn’t feel like myself and it showed in my cooking. When I was at that lowest point, the friends that I made in the competition were the ones that brought me back. In that way I guess I was really lucky, because I was able to survive that with the help of my friends.
ETC: You just defeated Chef Ashwin in the grueling EPIC challenge. I’d like to know, how does victory taste?
Chef Zamir: (laughs) This is actually the 2nd edition of this challenge, and the 1st time Ashwin’s contestant won, so it feels good to win this one. Hopefully there are more EPICs to be won.