The judges of MasterChef UK have come under fire by both the Indonesian and Malaysian communities for eliminating a contestant because her chicken rendang wasn’t crispy – despite chicken rendang never being crispy.
Gregg Wallace and John Torode criticised Malaysian-born Zaleha Kadir Olpin’s dish because the “chicken skin isn’t crispy, it can’t be eaten”. However rendang, which originates from Indonesia, is a slow-cooked dish in coconut milk and is never crispy. The dish is frequently fought over by Indonesia and Malaysia, although both sides agree that the skin isn’t meant to be crispy.
“As a Malaysian, if I could, I would personally go to the show and rendang their head,” wrote one outraged viewer. “Uncultured swine, doesn’t know variety of cuisine and claims to be Masterchef?”
The Malaysian Prime Minister even joined the fray, posting a photo on Twitter of his own chicken rendang, asking “Who eats ‘crispy’ chicken rendang?”
John Torode eventually responded to the criticism, although once again missed the mark. “Maybe Rendang is Indonesian!! Love this!! Brilliant how excited you are all getting … Namaste.”
Namaste is a greeting used mainly in India and Nepal, not Indonesia.