PENANG’S spot on the world cuisine map is set to get a leg up if Malaysian celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, gets his way.
Redzuawan wants to showcase the island-state’s culinary delights to the world this November by getting Tourism Malaysia and a host of corporate sponsors to support for Penang to host the prestigious “Gourmand World Cookbook Awards” event here in November.
“Several potential corporate sponsors, which include some of Malaysia’s blue-chip companies, have given their support in principle, and I need to convince Tourism Malaysia that since Kuala Lumpur hosted the event four years ago, Penang is the next logical location which must be showcased,” he told a press conference at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort in Penang last week.
Redzuawan was in Penang as part of a nationwide trip to introduce Swedish chef K.C. Wallenberg to Malaysian cuisine.
The Gourmand World Cookbooks Award were founded in 1995, and in 2008, books from 102 countries participated in the compeition which has been held in cities which include Beijing, London and Paris in recent years.
“The economic spin-offs to an event of this kind will be manifold and Penang’s tourism industry is not the only state to gain from the presence of some of the world’s celebrity chefs, food editors and cookbook writers.
“My plan is have the creme de la creme of the food industry to come out to Malaysia a week before this event, to tour the rest of the country and sample our food,” Redzuawan said.
He added that all national airlines like Malaysia Airlines, its subsidiary Firefly and low-cost carrier Air Asia will also benefit immensely from the proposed event.
The annual Gourmand event is said to provide a platform for the who’s who in the world of cookbooks and winebooks, hundreds of publishers, authors, chefs and journalists to participate.
Meanhwile, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa director of communications Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman said: “An event of this nature will help elevate Penang’s status as not only a gourmet or hawker food paradise, but also a choice destination for global meetings and conferences.