Elevating Malaysia’s culinary landscape for the grand Visit Malaysia 2026 campaign

IN a glamorous ceremony held at the Sunway Resort Hotel in Petaling Jaya, the 2023 World Top Gourmet Awards (WTGA), organised by the renowned World Gourmet, has embarked on an exciting mission. Its goal is to level up the skills of Malaysian chefs and eateries in anticipation of the grand Visit Malaysia 2026 campaign set to debut in the 2024 Budget. The event was graced by the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan.

Since its inception in 2017, WTGA has been a trusted guide for both locals and tourists, helping them discover a wide array of dining experiences, from fancy restaurants to cosy neighbourhood joints. These awards aim to be a beacon of light for culinary adventurers, offering crucial recommendations, insights and a stage for exploring the rich and diverse world of Malaysian cuisine.

Khairul expressed his enthusiasm, that Malaysia is often celebrated as a culinary paradise, where dining is a cherished tradition deeply embedded in the country’s diverse cultural heritage. The rich tapestry of flavours found in Malaysia makes it the ideal stage for showcasing the nation’s culinary diversity. Here, food and beverage providers go beyond merely serving food; they narrate stories, traditions, and the country’s cultural heritage through cuisine. This culinary journey significantly contributes to the growth of Malaysia’s tourism and culture sectors.

As we move closer to 2024, World Gourmet has lined up a series of exciting initiatives to enhance the skills of local chefs and eateries. These initiatives include workshops, training programmes led by famous chefs, culinary exchanges with the participation of local culinary talents, cooking competitions and festivals celebrating global cuisines. In a heart-warming move, World Gourmet will team up with local tourism boards to craft vacation packages that spotlight eateries in different states, showcasing their unique local specialities and engaging with the local communities through charity events, fundraisers and mentorship programmes to support those without access to culinary education.

World Gourmet President Peggy Chong, expressed the belief that food serves as a reflection of culture, heritage and history. Through the culinary arts, they aim to bring cultures together and foster opportunities for mutual understanding and appreciation. This year, they received an overwhelming response in nominations, enabling them to meticulously evaluate and recognise 102 recipients — an unprecedented achievement in World Gourmet’s history. These recipients are a testament to the very best in the industry, showcasing their remarkable dedication and passion.

What is more, World Gourmet has bestowed the title of World Gourmet Chef of Honour on the World Chefs’ Association President, Master Chef Thomas A Gugler and named Master Chef Chin Chee Sing (Chef Sun) as the World Gourmet Ambassador 2023, both of whom will be actively involved in the upcoming initiatives in 2024.

Esteemed chefs such as Tourism Malaysia’s Ambassador Chef Ismail Ahmad, Founder of Cooking For Charity, Master Chef Jeffrey Tan and Executive Chef of three-Michelin Star Forum Restaurant, Master Chef Adam Wong, among others, have lent their support to this extraordinary event. World Gourmet has played a pivotal role in promoting and supporting over 300 local eateries, with plans to extend this support to 500 establishments in the coming year. Brace yourself for an unparalleled culinary journey that transcends the ordinary.

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