After eight weeks of competition, Zander Ng emerged as the winner of the first edition of MasterChef Singapore on Sunday night (21 October).
The 30-year-old IT manager beat out more than 700 applicants to land a coveted spot in the culinary competition. The contestants were then put through eight rounds of challenges, culminating in Sunday’s final round face-off/cook-off, where he and fellow finalist Genevieve Lee had to create a five-course, Asian-inspired banquet in two-and-a-half hours.
“This is a dream come true,” he said after his win. “This dream has been 10 years in the making and now I finally feel like I’ve received the validation to pursue my passion in the culinary world.
“Throughout the MasterChef Singapore journey, I’ve learnt to embrace the unknown, thrive in the madness that descended on the contestants in each episode and channel the pressure. I now believe in myself and this experience has changed my life forever.”
As the winner, Ng earned himself $10,000 in prize money, a book publishing deal, a $2,000 shopping vouchers, household and kitchen appliances, and three-month internships each at Artichoke and Folklore, restaurants owned by MasterChef Singapore judges Bjorn Shen and Damian D’Silva respectively.
“Right now, I plan to take some time off and travel the world looking for new cuisines and experiences. I look forward to the internships with Chef Bjorn and Chef Damian, spending time in a professional kitchen and learning from the best in each of their specific crafts,” Ng said.
In the final round, Ng’s simplicity and sophistication won over judges Shen, D’Silva and Audra Morrice.
His produce-driven menu consisted of a flank steak with Asian chimichurri; pan-seared red snapper with beurre blanc; shaved fennel marinated with soy, honey and lime; fettuccine carbonara with Szechuan peppercorns; and ondeh ondeh panna cotta.
The judges were impressed with all of his dishes save for the panna cotta, which did not set in time and therefore lacked a “sexy wobble” that Shen was looking for. D’Silva also remarked that Ng didn’t use enough gula melaka.
The most successful cookery television format in the world, the MasterChef franchise has been adapted in 61 markets with over 12 versions in Asia Pacific.
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