Classic Nyonya Cuisine Night @ HELP CAT

Classic Nyonya Cuisine Night @ HELP CAT

HELP CAT was the venue for a HELP corporate event dedicated to classic nyonya cuisine recently. It was hosted by Datuk Dr Paul Chan and Datin Chan for corporate friends and guests. The event showcased the culinary skills of Chef Nancy Chiah who has 30 years’ experience of the culinary industry.

The event was also a test of the skills of the culinary arts and hospitality students of the HELP CAT Centre for Culinary Entrepreneurship. They passed the test with flying colours.

dr chan paul

“An informal gathering of friends old and new, from embassies, diverse industries and government agencies, in a time of strife and challenges, to spend a moment together to enjoy nyonya cuisine prepared by Chef Nancy Chiah.”

- Datuk Dr Paul Chan in welcoming guests to the Nyonya Cuisine Night.


On entering the dining room, guests are confronted by tables immaculately laid out by the hospitality students of the HELP College of Arts and Technology


In the kitchen, Chef Nancy (right) supervises putting the final touches to the starter dish called Nyonya Kerabu Chicken, helped by HELP CAT students.


Chef Shanmugam Rajoo (2L)
and HELP CAT lecturers Nurul Huda (1L) and Karthigeyan Suderam (2R)
give final instructions to student waiters before the first course is served.


At the drinks counter, Datin Chan Kam Yoke, CEO of HELP University, gives tips to student helper Chim Hui Ying (Dip Hotel Management) on the proper way to pour and serve wine.

A sense of order: Chew Ker Er (left) thought the usual way of glass arrangement was too banal, so she arranged the wine, whiskey and juice glasses into neat, attractive formations that said much about the quality of their training and thinking. Assisting her were Lim Wei Yan (centre; Dip Culinary Arts) and Chim Hui Ying (right; Dip Hotel Management).

The Guest List


(Centre): Datuk Dr Paul Chan with honoured guest Prof Emeritus
Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Abu Hassan bin Othman, Chairman
of the MQA Council of which Dr Chan is a member.


Ingredients for a memorable evening: food and drinks that were pleasing to the palate, lively conversation and friendly banter, useful social and business networking, and entertainment in the form of…


… a violin recital by Eva Loo of Audition, a song composed by Justin Hurwitz for the film La La Land and nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Original Song at this year’s Oscars.


Nyonya Kerabu Chicken – mixed with fruits, vegetables and belacan.


Nonya belacan fried chicken


Perut ikan (pickled fish stomach curry), made with vegetables, aromatic herbs and fermented fish stomach.


Ikan berkunyit lemak (tumeric fish with coconut milk), Chef Nancy’s signature dish.


Otak-otak, a fish cake made from eggs, fish fillet and herbs, ginger, chili, tumeric and betel leaves.


Bubur chacha with sweet potato, yam, jackfruit and banana; pandan leaves lend it a light fragrance.


Compliments to the chef: Chef Nancy Chiah (centre) has 30 years of experience in the culinary industry. She has worked with leading restaurants in Penang, Ipoh and Singapore. Apart from nyonya dishes, Chef Nancy’s expertise also covers Penang hawker food, vegetarian dishes and Cantonese dinners. Chef Nancy will be conducting culinary courses at HELP CAT; the KPI given to her by Dr Chan: a Michelin rating.


Chef Razif’s pièce de résistance taking pride of place at the front of the dining hall: a creation which he named Tropical Paradise, a display of chili, brinjal, ginger and greens, herbs and spices. “In the old days, we used to grow them in our back garden, so this creation is to remind us of the good old days gone by.”


A good job done well: staff and students of the
Culinary Arts Centre pose with senior management at the end of the event.