Belfast Telegraph

‘Crispy’ was wrong word, says MasterChef’s Greg Wallace after dish feedback row

The cookery show judge faced criticism from viewers and even the Malaysian Prime Minister.

MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace has defended himself in a row over a Malaysian chicken dish criticised for its lack of “crispy” skin and said: “It wasn’t cooked enough.”

Wallace was condemned for his critique of Malaysian-born contestant Zaleha Kadir Olpin’s rendang, with people from Southeast Asia saying the dish should not include crispy chicken skin at all.

Even the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, waded into the row, tweeting: “Does anyone eat chicken rendang ‘crispy’?”

Wallace told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “What happened was, part of her dish was a rendang. And I said the skin was not crispy. I didn’t mean it should be fried, like fried chicken. What I meant was it was not cooked and it simply wasn’t cooked. It was white and flabby.

“If you look at it, the skin wasn’t cooked. Crispy was the wrong word. The skin wasn’t cooked.

His fellow judge on the cookery show, John Torode, later agreed, saying: “It wasn’t cooked enough.”

Wallace continued: “Rest assured the best cooks will always go through. She did not go out because her skin wasn’t crispy, she went out because the other cooks were better.”

Olpin produced a popular Malay rice dish nasi lemak and a chicken rendang curry – a Malaysian-Indonesian stew of meat, spices and coconut milk – as part of a task to create food that was special to her.

Despite being kicked off the show, she later stood by her dish, posting a message on Instagram.

She said: “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.”

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From Belfast Telegraph