Following a backlash on a judge’s critic about “crispy” chicken rendang, Masterchef UK has seemingly denied such a statement was made by British judge Gregg Wallace.
A spokesperson for the show, aired on BBC in Britain, said Wallace never mentioned the chicken rendang prepared by Malaysian-born Zaleha Kadir Olpin should have crispy skin.
“Gregg wasn’t suggesting that the dish should traditionally have crispy skin. He was saying that he couldn’t experience the flavours of the dish as it was presented.
“Masterchef has always celebrated international cuisine and on this occasion, our judges’ comments were relevant to the dish that had been cooked on the show,” a Masterchef UK spokesperson said, as reported by the Malay Mail Online today.
Video footage of the scene has been circulating online which shows Zaleha presenting her dish, nasi lemak with chicken rendang, but Wallace had criticised the chicken skin for not being crispy while another judge, John Torode, an Australian, believed that the rendang was a mistake.
Zaleha, a Kuantan-born former Petronas accountant, was eventually eliminated from the popular Masterchef UK cooking competition after presenting her dish.
The Masterchef UK spokesperson also said that Zaleha was not eliminated because of the crispiness of her chicken rendang but because the other cooks presented better.
The official response came after irate Malaysians took to the Internet to criticise the two judges for their comments on the chicken rendang, a traditional Malaysian favourite.
This incident also prompted Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak as well as Pakatan Harapan prime minister hopeful Dr Mahathir Mohamad to comment on the issue.
Najib had questioned whether there is anyone who eats crispy chicken rendang, while Mahathir cheekily said that maybe the judges had confused chicken rendang with fast food KFC.
Other notables who criticised the judges’ comments included Foreign Minister Anifah Aman who wondered whether this was a form of “whitesplaining” and Malaysian celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, who pointed out it was impossible to make crispy chicken rendang.