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Much Ado About Rendang


It is interesting to see how a plate of nasi lemak rendang changes the fate of a person. From what supposed to be seen as a failure, Malaysians, Singaporeans & Indonesians are looking up at Master Chef UK contestant, Zaleha Kadir. Of course, there is a lot to learn from this rendang episode.

From the beginning we had seen how Zaleha Kadir had put her love for the country by choosing nasi lemak as the dish that she would prepare for herself, as how the theme of the week was given. The choice was great as in Malaysia, no one is Malaysian enough if they said they have never eaten nasi lemak. Yes, some may not eat it, but to say never, is a great denial.

It's a dish eaten by this country, Malaysia, whose citizens consists more than easily 100 ethnicity, some of which are actually nameless. Take Harith Iskander for example, whose mom was an English and dad was a Malay and married to a Chindian (oh! If you are Malaysian enough, you know this term. Wink!) Wife and what do we call their children? Simply there is no check box to tick but to your surprise, these not-sure-what-ethnicity-Malaysians-they-are had tried nasi lemak at least once in their life time. Hence, bravo Zaleha Kadir. It is worth calling you a Malaysia representative because you really were.

What actually made the head-turner was the rendang and not the elimination. That was a priceless effect from a failure. Imagine if Zaleha Kadir decides to take this elimination as a starting point to prove to the world that chicken rendang needs no crispy chicken skin by selling nasi lemak rendang in the UK or even any parts of the world. Will she succeed? Most probably, YES!

Here are a few possibilities and lessons for business that we can look into this rendang story.

  1. To be in a masterchef competition, you must be an expert at what you are doing, or at least, claim to be good at. In this case, Zaleha Kadir definitely makes the cut.
  2. Based on her presentation and plating and judges' comments, I am nearly not guilty to say that the recipe was on point. Everything we need to complement a plate of nasi lemak was there – including the mouth-watering rendang. So again, this is a winning point and a strong support to which supposed to be a failed dish should Zaleha Kadir takes it to the streets of the UK to try what she actually had cooked on the day of her elimination.
  3. She needs not much marketing or publicity to launch the Malaysian delicacy. By now, both Zaleha Kadir and her eliminated nasi lemak rendang are overnight superstars. Each of them speaks volume for themselves.
  4. Nasi Lemak is so local to Malaysians, Singaporeans & Indonesians. Now, count how many population these countries have and how many citizens of these countries are actually in the UK. Need I say nasi lemak is a strange food abroad? Not really, at least not to Malaysians in the UK.

At the end of the day, I am not going against the decision nor that I want to look into this breaking news deeper, but what cheered me and opened my eyes was the fact how a failure had actually turned itself into a great opportunity that of which, if not seen clearly, could be missed.

To Zaleha Kadir, thank you for bringing us into the eyes of the world. There is certainly a lot to look into rather than the never-will-be-crispy chicken skin after this. We look forward for you to create bigger success out of this one. Let us all yam cha with a plate of nasi lemak rendang!