5 Minutes With The Malaysian World Sushi Cup Winner
World Sushi Cup 2018
Chef Sky Tai, the Malaysian head sushi chef at the popular Standing Sushi Bar in Singapore, won this year's World Sushi Cup.
For the uninitiated, the World Sushi Cup is an annual competition help in Japan, open to non-Japanese chefs with at least 5 years of sushi making experience both in and out of Japan. The competition is broken down into two categories: edomae sushi and creative sushi, requiring participants to have passed a test held by the All Japan Sushi Association and World Sushi Skills Institute to qualify.
We caught up with the Malaysian-born winner at a recent event held by The Norwegian Seafood Council here in Kuala Lumpur and got to learn more about the chef and his accomplishments.
How Did You Fall In Love With Sushi?
During my secondary school days, I used to watch a lot of Singaporean TV, which aired this Japanese show called Shota No Sushi. It was a Japanese drama that followed an aspiring sushi trainee who wanted to become a chef and I picked up that ambition too.
This is your third time participating in the World Sushi Cup, tell us what your experience in this year's cup felt like.
I wasn't exactly nervous but I was stressed. I won first-runner up previously so I wanted to try my best to represent Malaysia and outdo myself in this year's competition.
Have you ever tried to incorporate a Malaysian element into your sushi making?
Yes, I've done maki rolls using otak-otak with tamago, used ikan bilis on sushi as a topping to add crunch, and even used century egg in some items on the menu.
What’s the biggest misconception of sushi Malaysians have?
I think the biggest misconception we have is that salmon fish have parasites and worms due to a lack of education and viral messages that gets passed around. Because of this, they avoid ordering salmon in sushi restaurants.
What are your future plans?
I would love to open a restaurant in Malaysia, firstly in Kuala Lumpur and secondly in Johor Bahru, my hometown. I hope I can start a sushi association in Malaysia and share the knowledge that I have learne with aspiring chefs here.