Adam Liaw MasterChef winner at Malaysia Kitchen

What’s it like to win Masterchef? Sitting next to the winner, of the second Australian series, Adam Liaw at a small Malaysia Kitchen dinner for six, gave me a short glimpse. For a start our private dinner (decorated like a hawkers stand – in a cordoned off area of the Good Food Wine Show Sydney) was constantly interrupted by photographs, requests to take our places at the table and even high pitched squeals. So was it such a silly question to ask Adam how life had changed? If he “wants to wear his tracky dacks” he stays at home for the day. And there’s no such thing as a day off – even on a day at home – with constant phone calls and emails. He does try though to devote at least a day a week at home to cookery and new recipe development.

Most of our interesting chat was about food culture. Liaw says he thinks our Australian food culture (and yes he and others at the table think we have one) is most similar to Malaysian food culture. Both he says, are relatively new countries and both are culturally diverse, offering an enormous variety of food.

Liaw continued about the focus on food, in his country of birth “If there was a national past time in Malaysia, it would be food” said Liaw of the four styles of Malaysian cuisine.

As the chicken curry puffs and prawn fritters were polished off, and the Ayam Masak Merah and Beef Rendang arrived, we moved on to a conversation about his adopted country of Japan, and it’s food. Had he seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi? He’d missed it at the Sydney Film Festival but had really wants to see it. He was going to try to see it at the Japanese Film Festival. He’s in the middle of packing up for his permanent move from Tokyo to Sydney. With that move will hopefully come the opening of his restaurant – the unassuming Liaw will cook though the head chef will be from a Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo. (What did I think of the Michelin system? and what do I think of how it has been implemented in Japan? he asked) The timetable for the restaurant is still uncertain though Liaw’s hoping for an October opening. “If you asked me two months ago it would be a September opening he said, if you asked me last week it would be two years away, and today it’s October”. Wine was being poured, and Liaw asked if we wanted a beer. “I think there’s some out back”. So we drank beer instead. In itself, a bit of a glimpse at the real Adam Liaw, polite, quietly spoken, intelligent, articulate, erudite, and informed, and now celebrity (and perhaps a little bit daunted by that) yet humble, casual and charming.

The closest bonding for me however, came when – yet again – I spilt food on the front of my dress. As I mopped the stain with my mineral water, Adam Liaw told me that’s why he always wears layers. Adam it was a pleasure having dinner with you, squealing fans and all.

Malaysia Kitchen Private Dining Room

Friday 1st July 2011


Chicken Curry Puffs
Prawn Fritters

Main Course

Beef Rendang (spiced beef in coconut)
Ayam Masak Merah (fried chicken with tangy, sweet and spicy sauce)

served with Tomato Rice, Acar Jelata (Malay tangy pickle salad) and Roti Canai

Dessert (Kueh kueh Melayu)

Combination of baked tapioca cake, baked pandan cake with sesame seeds, layered cake (Kueh Lapis) and steam sticky rice pudding with pandan custard (Seri Muka)

Inside Cuisine was a guest at the Good Food & Wine Show SYDNEY and dined at the Malaysia Kitchen private dinner courtesy of Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence.

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Dinner by Kaki Lima ~ 3/228-230 Anzac Parade, Kensington ~ +61 2 9662 6868

Want more? Check out these great Sydney Malaysian restaurants:

Aseana Food Village ~ 1/149 Alison Road, Randwick ~ +61 2 9399 7010

BaBa Laksa House ~ 77-79 York Street, Sydney ~ +61 2 9299 5833

Chinta Ria Temple of Love ~ Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour ~ +61 2 9264 3211

Jackie M ~ 85 Majors Bay Road, Concord ~ +61 2 9743 0390

Jimmy’s Recipe ~ The Galleries Victoria, Syndey ~ +61 2 9267 2288

Kuali Malaysian Restaurant ~ Lane Cove Arcade, 115 Longueville Road, Lane Cove ~ +61 2 9418 6878

LEE’S Malaysian ~ 1a Hunter Street, Sydney ~ +61 2 9231 1662

Neptune Palace Restaurant ~ Cnr Pitt & Alfred Streets, Sydney ~ +61 2 9241 3338

Malacca Straits on Broadway ~ 66 Mountain Street, Broadway ~ +61 2 8021 7069

Mamak ~ 15 Goulburn Street, Sydney ~ +61 2 9211 1668

Mamak Village ~ 25 Glebe Point Road, Glebe ~ +61 4 14 675 880

The Malaya ~ 39 Lime Street, Sydney ~ +61 9279 1170

Sambal ~ 285-297 Lane Cove Road, North Ryde ~ +61 9889 7977

Tamasek ~ The Roxy Arcade, 71 George Street, Parramatta ~ + 61 2 9633 9926


UPDATE August 2011 ~ Malaysia Kitchen Bloggers Summit ~ help send Inside Cuisine to Malaysia to write about more food

For four weeks during August, JOIN Natalie Manning from Inside Cuisine, in her MALAYSIAN EPICUREAN ADVENTURES on the Malaysia Kitchen website. You can vote each of the four weeks with a Like and a Comment ~ here’s how …

Help your favourite food blogger score a foodie’s trip to Malaysia in three easy steps:
1. Check out the blog posts about the week’s delicious Malaysian food experiences and try not to salivate
2. Click the “Like” button on your favourite posts and leave a comment showing your support
3. Continue checking the site for new posts and keep voting for your favourite food experiences

Click here to vote for Natalie Manning from Inside Cuisine at Malaysia Kitchen website Week One.

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Comments for this article

2 Responses to “Adam Liaw MasterChef winner at Malaysia Kitchen”

  1. Simon @ the heart of food says:
    July 9, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Nice coverage of the talk with Adam. Quite interesting to talk about Malaysian food and hear how he deals with his celebrity.

  2. Melissa Loh says:
    July 15, 2011 at 3:15 am

    So terribly jealous, cuz it sounds like such an amazing meal opportunity with Adam.

Leave a Reply to Simon @ the heart of food