MasterChef UK contestant who was eliminated because her chicken rendang wasn’t ‘crispy’ sparks online furore

Does the chicken rendang on this plate of nasi lemak look right to you?
Instagram/z.olpin

It’s a fact that Singaporeans and Malaysians love their nasi lemak and will waste no time when it comes to defending its honour, or in a recent incident, that of a Malaysian contestant on MasterChef UK.

In an incident late last month, Zaleha Kadir Olpin, a former accountant from Kuantan, was eliminated from the show for her nasi lemak with chicken rendang dish after failing to impress the judges who included British TV personality Greg Wallace and celebrity chef John Torode.

Torode had said during the quarter-final episode that the chicken was a “mistake” and “really soft and falling apart” while Wallace commented that “the chicken skin isn’t crispy”, adding that the sauce on the chicken made it difficult to eat.

But isn’t that exactly how chicken rendang’s supposed to be?

Malaysians (and Indonesians) turned to social media to unleash the fury on both men whom they said were not aware of how the traditional dish should be prepared.

Zaleha posted a photo of her dish on Instagram last week saying that she was “gutted to be eliminated” and that she stands by her traditional cooking methods.

The 48-year-old, who lives in Bristol with her husband, added: “Will not change it for the world.”

It didn’t end there.

Torode took to social media to address the issue and even questioned rendang’s origin but that seemed to backfire on him. He should have seen this coming.