By Michelle Liew
MasterChef UK recently organised a special episode for the New Year, calling back some of their previous winners to battle it out and grab the title of Champion of the Champions. Amongst the myriad of fan-favourite former winners was Malaysian-born Ping Coombes.
Ping was the champion of the 2014 season of MasterChef UK, earning the well-deserved title with a stunning take on the classic dish of Nasi Lemak, paired with a marvellous Wonton soup.
In this episode, Ping cooked up three sumptuous dishes for the judges, namely: Chilli Pan Mee, Claypot Chicken Rice, and Ais Kacang. The judges were completely in awe with her presentation, and it was the Claypot Chicken Rice and Ice Kacang that really locked in the title of ‘Champion of the Champions’ for her.
Ping’s Claypot Chicken Rice was not your average chicken rice! Using ingenuity and finesse, Ping instead, cooked a guinea fowl with rice stuffed inside of it. The dish was finished off with a garnish made of shards of crispy rice, a lime, ginger and chili gel, and a guinea fowl sauce.
Paired with her amazing main courses was a phenomenal, modern take on Ais Kacang. Made of coconut ice, peanut powder, sweet corn mousse, and rose flavoured meringue shards, it was so delicious, judge Gregg Wallace almost finished the entire dish before saying, “It’s so good I can’t leave it alone. Your food’s lovely.”
Ipoh-born Ping Coombes currently resides in Bath, UK. Since her stint on MasterChef UK, she has opened her own restaurant there called Ping’s Makan Club. She has her own cooking classes as well, and published a cookbook named MALAYSIA.