Chef Riz trims fat on MasterChef Malaysia profile
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — Dogged by controversy, budding TV chef Mohd Nadzri Redzuawan has changed his MasterChef Malaysia profile on the Astro Ria website for the second time in less than 24 hours.
Popularly known as Chef Riz, the youngest judge on the local reality TV cooking show admitted yesterday he overstated his qualifications on the channel’s website and apologised in a two-line statement to The Malaysian Insider as well as on the MasterChef Malaysia Facebook wall.
The third and latest profile of the 29-year-old who has hosted several TV cooking programmes from “Makan Tapi Diet”, “Jernal Chef” and “Sajian Kontemporari” was amended late last night, with all references of his self-avowed professional experience at two critically-acclaimed New York restaurants removed.
The new profile is now a two paragraph background that highlights his claim to fame via his father Redzuawan Ismail — better known as Chef Wan, one of Malaysia's most popular chefs.
It also lists Chef Riz’s personal experiences as “Executive Group Chef at MXM International, Marcos Italian Restaurant, Titanium International Bistro, Thai King Crab Seafood Restaurant and also the Culinary Chef at Real Food Corporation Meatworks Steakhouse.”
The Meatworks chain has been identified as belonging to minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family, and was peppered with criticism due to the its links to the raging controversy surrounding the National Feedlot Corporation. It has outlets in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Chef Riz was initially portrayed as having worked in senior positions at the two critically acclaimed restaurants in the US, but checks with both revealed otherwise.
Yesterday, Astro Ria amended Chef Riz’s MasterChef Malaysia profile on its website at about 9am, shortly after The Malaysian Insider reported the story.
The second profile describes Chef Riz as a “trainee under the guidance of the Chef de Cuisine at the famed Italian restaurant (Babbo) in New York, owned by celebrity Chef Mario Batali, and was a trainee under the guidance of the Sous Chef at Le Bernadin, New York, a three-star Michelin restaurant owned by Eric Rupert [sic]”.
Chef Riz originally claimed he worked as “chef de cuisine” — also called a head chef — at the world famous Mario Batali flagship Italian restaurant Babbo in New York when he was only 22.
He also said he was “sous-chef” at Le Bernardin under chef Eric Ripert — of the Asian Food Channel’s “Avec Eric” fame — before returning home to star in several TV programmes.
A sous-chef is the second in command in a professional kitchen and directly assists the head chef.
When contacted by The Malaysian Insider, both Babbo and Le Bernardin refuted Chef Riz’s claims of having worked with them.
MasterChef Malaysia is a reality cooking show under the MasterChef franchise that is also present in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia, Greece, India, Sweden, Indonesia and the UK.
The show’s first season on Astro Ria began its run on October 22. Shooting for the series is scheduled to continue till year’s end.