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Fabulous Grand Finale
MIGF 2011 closes with fun and fireworks at Sunway Lagoon
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A thunderous fireworks display wows the crowd

The Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011 closed as it began – with plenty of excitement and memorable moments. In a night filled with magic, fireworks and fire eaters, more than 2,000 guests helped celebrate the gala gustatory event that is MIGF at the Grand Finale on 3 November amid the balmy “sand and sea” atmosphere of Surf Beach at Sunway Lagoon.


Exotic dancers and entertainers set the night on fire


Magician Moudini from Iran

With gun-toting military-esque men on all-terrain vehicles, a haka dance, a magic show and performers twirling fiery sticks, it was a blazing evening topped with the main event, the awards presentation to the best of the best among the 28 Malaysian restaurants participating in MIGF.

Indeed, as the announcement was made that the proceedings were about to start, the guests, counting among them KL’s who’s who and MIGF Festival Advisory Committee members and sponsors, were highly anticipating the spectacle that the Festival Grand Finale is known for.


Dato Steve Day and VIP Guests head to the Gala Finale launch

And it did not disappoint. With the rat-a-tat-tat of paintball guns appeared men camouflage outfits on ATVs, leading buggies in which sat Guest of Honour Dato’ Dr Ong Hong Peng, Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism, MIGF Royal Patron YAM Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Ja’afar and Organising Chairman Dato’ Steve Day, accompanied by Sunway Lagoon CEO Aaron Soo.

Met by AsiaReach Events Managing Director Datin Su Wai Fun, the VVIPs, along with Tourism Malaysia Chairman Datuk Dr Victor Wee, YM Tunku Nurul Hayati Tunku Bahador, YAM Tunku Dara Tunku Tan Sri Naquiah Tuanku Ja’afar, YM Tunku Kecil Besar Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar Tunku Mustapha, Datin Ng Lai Heng and Dato’ Jeremy Diamond, were led to their seats in front of the stage.


A medley of songs about rain from umbrella carrying dancers

Then it was time for the show, with a haka dance leading the way into a performance by fire eaters and the cast of Sunway Lagoon’s upcoming Aladdin the Musical, who twirled away to Rihanna’s hit Umbrella and Jai Ho from the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

 

This was followed by none other than magician extraordinaire Moudini, who wowed the audience by producing live doves from both a hat and a picture frame. And what was this – a huge cauldron on stage? Was Moudini making soup? That seemed to be case, with the consummate performer chucking in vegetables into the receptacle and then making it spout flames from within. But there was another surprise, as out from the cauldron came Dato’ Steve, to thunderous applause from guests seated in front of the stage as well as those watching the live feed on TV sets provided by Samsung.

The Organising Chairman welcomed all his guests to a night celebrating MIGF, which is now in its 11th year. And as Dato’ Steve exhorted his guests to party away, he called out “Let the celebrations begin!”, setting off an impressive display of fireworks, as well as a chef roaring around the lagoon on a jet ski and one zipping down the flying fox, to the reworded It’s Raining Men.

Dato’ Steve also took the opportunity to highlight the Master Chefs from the 28 participating restaurants that had made the Festival such a success, each of them receiving a medal for their outstanding efforts. Recognition was also given to the Festival Advisory Committee members present, who also included Dato’ Kok Wee Kiat, Datuk Mike Krishnan, Dato’ Sri Azim Zabidi, Che’ Puan Winnie Sophia Low, Mr David Teh, En Johari Abas, Mr Jeffrey Perera and Mr Nick Lough, each receiving a plaque and a memento in the form of a Dulce Gusto coffee maker courtesy of Nescafé, and Festival partners that included Astro, Lite FM, Asian Food Channel, Seni Jaya, Melium Group and Vision Four Media Group.


MIGF Master Chefs make their way to the main stage

The highlight of the night was the awards presentation, where the participating restaurants had the chance to walk away with a variety of awards in the People’s Choice, Judges’ Choice and Festival Diners’ Choice categories.

These awards included recognition for the restaurants’ efforts during the Gala Launch, namely for Most Creative Restaurant Station, Most Creative Food Presentation, Most Innovative Cuisine and Most Outstanding Cuisine; and during the Festival month, specifically for Most Creative Festival Menu, Best Value Meal, Best Festival Offers, Best Marketed Restaurant, Most Creative Dining Experience, Best Use of the Festival Theme and Most Outstanding Cuisine.

Diners partaking in the Festival Menus also voted for their favourite canapés, soup, appetiser, starter, entrée, main course and dessert, while the judges also chose one participant to receive the Outstanding Festival Achievement Award, and one chef was voted by his or her peers as Chef Congeniality.


Chalet wins! The team fron Equatorial celebrating their big win with Dato' Seri Azim Zabidi


Award winning MIGF Master Chef and Team celebrate together

The biggest prize of the night was the Golden Cauldron Award for the Best All-Round Restaurant 2011, which was won by Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur’s Swiss specialist Chalet.


The energetic performances had the crowd dancing the night away


Tropical beauties dance to Latin beats

With the Latin band playing upbeat songs that kept the pace swinging all night, the mood at the Grand Finale was jovial as guests queued up for more of the delicious fare at stalls placed along the main concourse.


Kronenbourg girls handing out ice cold Kronenbourg beers

Sparkling Mineral Water from San Pellegrino Sponsor

 For guests with a sweet tooth a delicious ice cream for dessert

And what delights they were: From Carlsberg was the official beer for MIGF, Kronenbourg 1664; from Sanpellegrino Asia, Acqua Panna mineral water; Cotra, Peel Fresh juices; Permanis, Tropicana Twister juices; Nestle, Drumstick and La Cremeria ice cream; and from A&L Adventure and Leisure as well as Orix Marketing was a variety of wines. Meanwhile, Sunway Lagoon provided delicacies from the region – mee rebus, murtabak, oyster egg, pasembur, Penang chee cheong fun, roti jala, satay, kebab, otak-otak, tempura, sushi, thosai, char kuey teow, chicken tikka, curry laksa, honey-glazed chicken wing, Ipoh hor fun, Korean BBQ chicken, cendol, Malay kuih and other desserts and the perennial local favourite, teh tarik.

Juicy chicken tikka morsels were gobbled up quickly

 Freshly prepared delicacies with spicy sauces
The curry laksa was the favourite dish that night

 Light bite-sized morsels to melt in your mouth

All the hot food was made fresh, and as the guests waited for the festivities to begin, they visited the stalls for samples of each dish, and the air was filled with music from the live band, excited chatter, anticipation and, most tantalisingly, the smell of good food, especially the char kuey teow sizzling in the wok.

Guests had the pleasure of taking back a souvenior photo of themselves courtesy of Fujifilm

 Fine cigars on offer from Trinidad Cigar Company

They also browsed the cigar selection offered by Trinidad Cigars and picked up a souvenir photo printed on-site by Official Imaging Partner FUJIFILM. MIGF’s Master Chefs, meanwhile, feasted and frolicked with old and new friends, and this camaraderie was great to see, proving that the Festival brings together these professionals in a convivial and fun setting.

There was also plenty of dancing, with guests kicking off their shoes and truly letting their hair down to boogie on the sand, as well as an after-party at The Lighthouse.


Tunku Naquiyuddin Ibni Tuanku Ja'afar and Tunku Nurul Hayati Binti Tunku Bahador

All in all, it was a first-class celebration for a world-class gastronomic event that is MIGF, the biggest such food extravaganza in Malaysia, with the guests, among them Tunku Naquiyuddin, Tunku Dara, Dato’ Farah Khan and Colonel Jacques Lemay, Defence Advisor for the British High Commission in Malaysia, offering only positive responses, including words such as “fantastic” and “excellent”, and thumbs up and wide smiles.


The beautiful finalist from the Miss Malaysia Universe 2011 pageant