Yesterday, the nation was shocked to discover that Zaleha Kadir Olpin, a Kuantan-born contestant on Masterchef UK has been eliminated because the traditional chicken rendang dish that she has prepared for the judges was not “crispy enough”.
John Torode, who judges alongside Gregg Wallace, was unimpressed with Zaleha’s entry, saying the chicken should be “really soft and falling apart”. Gregg then irked most when he commented “the skin wasn’t crispy,” adding that the sauce on the chicken made it difficult to eat.
View this post on Instagram
Gutted to be eliminated on #masterchefuk but I stand by my traditional way of cooking Nasi Lemak . Will not change it for the world. The memories of my amazing time at Masterchef kitchen will forever stays with me. Thank you so much for all your support and good wishes. As my friend said, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger! Thank you again xxx #masterchefuk #iamout #cooking #carryon #love #TFLers #tweegram #photooftheday #20likes #amazing #smile #follow4follow #like4like #look #instalike #igers #picoftheday #food #instadaily #instafollow #followme #girl #iphoneonly #instagood #webstagram #colorful #style #swag
“Gutted,” Zaleha started in the caption of her Instagram post. Her frustration was etched on her face, obvious in her voice and echoed by her social media followers when judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace, who had raved about her dishes that saw her to the quarter finals, didn’t quite take to her chicken rendang.
“The skin wasn’t crispy”, “the meat didn’t fall off the bone” – those were the main sore points. Questioned by both Malaysian and Indonesian netizens, the celebrity chef later turned up the heat and led to tempers boiling on social media:
The arrogant white chef then went ahead and replied another user and suggested that the dish was Indonesian before signing off with “Namaste”, an expression not native to this part of the region. Rude much?
Twitter users did not take long to ‘school’ Mr. John.
Stop embarrassing yourself mate. Human to err. Ask any Malaysian or Indonesian what chicken rending really is. Have something authentic. You might not be wrong, but only because you don’t know the real thing. So don’t go ‘namaste-ing’ away.
— ᴊᴏᴇ ʟᴇᴇ 🇲🇾 (@iamjoelee) April 2, 2018
Usually, we don't say Namaste as a greeting, only Indians will do that, and even Indonesia IS NOT India
How about get your facts damn right first?
— Inekoto Setsu (@InekotoSetsu) April 2, 2018
Padan muka. Now feel lah the bawangness of malaysian, indonesian, singaporean and bruneian
— Outer Well (@outerwell) April 2, 2018
We ain't getting excited or what so ever
We actually triggered that u disrespect our dishes and our cultures. Shame for u that u claim ur self a chef, please do some home work before u judge the nice lady's nasi lemak
— Wayne Lee (@WayneLee92963) April 2, 2018
But wait, is John Torode really clueless about how a chicken rendang is supposed to look like, or was he just looking for a reason to kick out Zaleha from the show?
We got word that the chef has actually traveled to Malaysia once and made a cooking video on chicken rendang with a local Langkawi-based chef. LOL. Ironic?
So who is John Torode? The 52-year-old was born in Melbourne, Australia, but currently lives in London. At 16 years old, John left school to attend catering college. After a decade of training, he moved to the UK in 1991 where he worked at Quaglino’s as a sous chef.
John met his actress partner Lisa, of EastEnders, Brookside and Holby City fame, when she appeared on and won Celebrity MasterChef in 2010. At the time of the show being filmed, Lisa was married to Eastenders actor Chris Coghill, with whom she has an eight-year-old adopted daughter Billie.
The pair divorced in April 2012 after a seven-year marriage, and six months later, Lisa went public with her relationship with John. Meanwhile, he had been married to wife Jessica since 2007, but the couple split in 2011.