The SingTel’s Hawker Heroes versus Chef Gordon Ramsay had finally taken place last evening. And I am proud to say that 2 out of the 3 local dishes (Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, 328 Katong Laksa and Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Chilli Crab) were won by our hawker heroes. Read on to find out who won (and of course to see Gordon Ramsay pictures).
Here is a poster of the SingTel Hawker Heroes vs Gordon Ramsay.
Thanks to SingTel for the invite, I was able to experience personally the power of Chef Gordon Ramsay, and of course, our Singapore foodies. I got to know that someone actually queued for the free coupon (1,000 coupons) since 1am on Sunday.
The event was held at Newton Food Centre. SingTel actually set up a big tentage just outside the food centre. Ramsay was surrounded with security. Even with Media pass, it was not easy to take a good picture of him. Here is my first encounter with him (abet a little far). He was checking the preparation.
BTW, I need to declare that this post is for his fans. There will be a lot of pictures of him in different angle. I did many close ups of him. So, expect to see some wrinkles (but he carries them well).
Here are the containers for the food. There are 1,000 set of 6 of these containers. Here is the Laksa and Chilli Crab.
And here is the Hainanese Chicken Rice.
There are a lot of people preparing the food. Here is a shot of some of them.
Here are some random shots of Ramsay as he moved around the place. He looked serious in these photos.
Finally, See Toh appeared. He is one of the comperes for the evening. He is asking Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, Mr. Ang Kiam Meng, about the challenge.
Finally (this is really finally), Chef Gordon Ramsay appears before us. You can hear his fans shouting and cheering him.
Here are the local Hawker Heroes with Gordon Ramsay.
A close up of Mr. Ryan Koh of 328 Katong Laksa.
Another shot of Ramsay before the competition begins.
Mr. Allen Lew from SingTel said a few words about the challenge. He took out an air horn to signal the start of the challenge.
Ramsay was there to distribute the food to the participants. He was super friendly to them. Big smiles from him.
But when he started to walk around to check on the preparation, he became super serious.
Here is what everyone did when they received their set of food. And it is (maybe) the Singapore thing to capture the food on camera.
Here is how the food were arranged. They were divided to Hawker Heroes’ side (bottom) and the Ramsay’s side (top).
Nice packaging, BTW.
A shot video of the food.
Some close ups of the food. I did not bother to place the food nicely before I shoot.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Ramsay’s Chicken Rice
Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Chilli Crab
Ramsay’s Chilli Crab
328 Katong Laksa
We were given 20 minutes to have a closer look at the kitchen. We were not allow to step into it due to hygiene. Here is a mock up of a typical Chicken Rice hawker stall in Singapore.
Here is a Ramsay preparing a bowl of Laksa for the media.
Here are the people preparing the special-made trays for the participants.
At the main tentage, there were many familiar faces (local celebrities).
From left: Flying Dutchman, the Muttons (Justin and Vernon A).
A shot of the Muttons (Justin and Vernon A).
As the clock ticked nearer to the dateline (9pm, Sunday time), the queue is still going strong. Here is the area where the results will be announced.
15 minutes before the end of the challenge, See Toh appeared again to prep us for the announcement, together with Pei Fen, Jean Danker and Glenn Ong.
Our local Hawker Heroes appeared.
Sorry for the poor framing. If you had seen the number of people taking pictures/videos, you will understand.
Finally Ramsay appeared.
Interacting with his “competitors”
The programme is “live” on Mio TV. See Toh talking to the camera.
And Ramsay is busy addressing his fans (after they shouted his name).
The moment had arrived. The countdown to close the SMS voting.
While waiting for the results, See Toh was busy interviewing the local celebrities and Ramsay.
Don’t know what did See Toh said to make Glenn Ong come out with this expression. Haha.
Thanks to technology, the results is just a paper away.
Everyone is super focused on the results.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice versus Ramsay’s Chicken Rice.
Winner: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
The moment before the announcement of the Chilli Crab results.
Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Chilli Crab versus Ramsay’s Chilli Crab
Winner: Ramsay’s Chilli Crab
328 Katong Laksa versus Ramsay’s Laksa
Winner: 328 Katong Laksa
The winners were given a gift of appreciation by SingTel executives.
The smile of victory from 328 Katong Laksa.
And here is Ramsay’s with his gift.
The event came to an end. The overall winners are the Singapore Food Lovers. Since when do you have the chance to taste the food from Michelin-starred Chef (Gordon Ramsay) and our favorite local hawker food in the same place (free, thanks to SingTel).
Kudos to Gordon Ramsay for accepting the challenge and also for churning out the food for the challenge even though he barely knew them 2 days ago.
I hope I had captured enough shots to let you have a feel on the event itself.
Here is the Official Press Release of the Challenge if you interested in the actual scores.
Singapore Food Lovers the Ultimate Winners in SingTel Hawker Heroes Challenge
Singapore, 7 July 2013 – Lovers of Singapore hawker fare were the ultimate winners as three of Singapore’s most popular hawkers (Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, 328 Katong Laksa and Jumbo Seafood Restaurant) squared-off against internationally renowned Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay in the highly anticipated SingTel Hawker Heroes culinary challenge.
The contest was held at Newton Food Centre where more than 1000 members of the public, including excited Singaporeans who started queuing from 1am the night before, witnessed the exciting culinary showdown and sampled chicken rice, laksa and chilli crab prepared by Chef Ramsay and the hawkers.
Diners were then asked to vote for their preferred version of each dish. The Singapore hawker heroes narrowly edged-out Chef Ramsay in the live poll by 6 per cent of the total vote in the closely contested battle. In each dish category, Tian Tian Chicken Rice won by 6 per cent, 328 Katong Laksa by 19 per cent and Chef Ramsay’s version of Chilli Crab triumphed by 5 per cent.
Mr Allen Lew, SingTel’s CEO, Group Digital Life, said: “At SingTel, we seek to bring joy to our customers through amazing experiences. We are thrilled to bring Chef Ramsay to Singapore for a contest that rallied the nation and showcased the very best of Singapore hawker cuisine. Food is such an important part of our way of life. Through the SingTel Hawker Heroes Challenge, we hope to inspire the next generation of chefs to carry on our nation’s proud hawker traditions.”
Chef Ramsay said: “It’s been phenomenal to see how passionate the people of Singapore are about their hawker fare. The hawkers have impressed me with their ability to whip-up dishes with such amazing flavours. Now that I’ve experienced the best of Singapore cuisine, I can say without doubt the people of Singapore have much to be proud of – authentic, genuine, simple food, that is of amazing quality and full of flavour.”
Mdm Foo Kui Lian, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, said: “I enjoyed teaching Chef Ramsay the art of making chicken rice. Although his version was very unique, it was still very appetising. The SingTel Hawker Heroes challenge was a wonderful celebration of the good food we have here in Singapore.”
Mr Ang Kiam Meng, Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, said: “The contest was a great way to recognise the skills and talent of our local hawkers. Chilli crab is an iconic Singapore dish that takes many years to master and we are glad that it was featured in the contest. We are confident that the people of Singapore will continue to support our hawkers and keep our unique food culture alive.”
Mr Ryan Koh, 328 Katong Laksa, said: “We are grateful to our friends, family and supporters for voting for us, and to SingTel for giving us this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to challenge a world famous chef like Gordon Ramsay. It was a truly amazing experience!”
The three hawkers were chosen out of a group of 12 popular hawkers to take on Chef Ramsay through an online poll that sparked national interest. More than 2.5 million votes were cast over 8 days, with the three hawkers garnering approximately 320,000 votes each.
About SingTel Hawker Heroes
In June, seven of Singapore’s most well-regarded food bloggers with the support of SingTel had issued an invite to Chef Ramsay, to help determine if our hawker food has what it takes to match up to the prestigious standards of the world renowned Michelin guide.
This invite was issued amidst concerns about the future of Singapore’s hawker heritage, with fewer picking up the craft from the current generation of hawkers. It also aims to address the debate among foodies whether our hawkers are as talented as Michelin-starred chefs and if international recognition would boost the hawker trade.
For Gordon Ramsay’s acceptance video, please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?