Malaysian chef Tai Koon Siang made the country proud after incorporating a hint of Malaysia into traditional sushi-making on the world stage.
His efforts were successful because he emerged as the overall champion at the World Sushi Cup 2018
, defeating participants from Brazil, the Philippines as well as the home country, Japan.
Tai, who is more popularly known as Chef Sky Tai, has been making sushi for 12 years since he finished secondary school.
Currently, the 36-year-old Kluang native is working as a sushi chef at a Japanese restaurant in Singapore.
Two years ago, he was sent by the restaurant to take part in the global competition, in which he bagged silver.
This year, he decided to test his skills again in the same competition, and his efforts certainly paid off.
The World Sushi Cup began in 2013 with aims to improve the standard of sushi outside Japan. It is an international challenge endorsed by Japan’s Ministry of Algriculture and the All Japan Sushi Association World Sushi Skills Institute.
The competition consists of two parts -- Edomae Sushi Open Competition and Creative Sushi Competition.
Not only was Tai the overall champion out of 40 sushi chefs from all around the world, he also won both categories
across the two-day competition on 23 and 24 August.
The Edomae competition involves making traditional Edo-style sushi where contestants are judged based on hygiene, knife skills, speed, and preparation techniques.
This style of sushi began in the early days when there was no refrigerator available. Hence the quality of the vinegar and preservation need to be very high.
According to Asia News Network
, Tai prepared his ingredients one week in advance, packing all the frozen food in a vacuum pack before flying to Japan.
He also took the time to hunt for suitable plates and decorative items to take his sushi presentation to the next level.
Now, the Creative Sushi category is where Tai's sushi stood out.
He themed his sushi around Malaysia and incorporated traditional dishes like nasi lemak, laksa, and some Chinese, Indian and Baba Nyonya cuisine.
Tai is now thinking of starting a family-oriented restaurant in his hometown Kluang after working in Singapore for so many years.
Chef Sky, we hope to sample your sushi in Malaysia one day!