SingTel Hawker Heroes Challenge –the day has finally arrived!

Fans of Gordon Ramsay have been following various online platforms religiously ever since the news of him accepting the invitation (to take on Singapore’s three most popular hawkers in a culinary cook-off) went viral.

Gordon Ramsay’s acceptance video:

After a gruelling culinary showdown on 7 July 2013, the Singapore hawker heroes have defeated Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay.

Supporters of Gordon Ramsay were spotted queuing at the contest venue, Newton Circus, as “early” as 1am the night before, so as to secure a chance of meeting the chef in person.

1000 members of the public witnessed the exciting culinary face-off and sampled chicken rice, laksa and chilli crab prepared by Chef Ramsay and the hawkers.

328 Katong Laksa’s dish

I found 328 Katong Laksa’s version a tad disappointing as I was expecting to be blown away by an intense burst of flavour, but it was less cloying as compared to Chef Ramsay’s version, which had a layer of oil floating atop the rich coconut milk-laden gravy.

Chef Ramsay’s dish

328 Katong Laksa managed to win by 19 per cent, although I would say it was a close fight.

Chef Ramsay triumphed in the Chilli Crab segment, winning by a close margin of 5 per cent. The distinctive quality and exceptional flavour earns his dish due victory.

If you have tasted a plate of chicken rice from Tian Tian Chicken Rice previously, you would probably agree that defeating them is no easy feat. It’d take years of fine-tuning and practice accompanied by vast experience, to yield the exemplar rendition worthy of recognition.

Comparing both renditions of the chicken rice, I would say that Tian Tian Chicken Rice’s dish truly deserves victory. There’s a stark contrast in the intensity of flavour evident in every grain of rice, and the moistness in Tian Tian Chicken Rice’s version earns them extra points. Chef Ramsay’s chilli sauce is also prominently inferior to Tian Tian Chicken Rice’s. I disagree with the results –how can Tian Tian Chicken Rice win by ONLY 6 per cent?

Here are some shots taken during Chef Ramsay’s visit to Tian Tian Chicken Rice’s stall two days before the cook-off.

“I hate playing safe, I love the vulnerability. This is not about me thinking I’m better than them. There’re some talented chefs here (at the hawker scene).”

“To me, every top chef in the world should become a student. It’s the most amazing thing that can ever happen, because you learn.”

“I’m not taking tips, I’m stealing.”

“Every time I walk into my kitchen I have to create perfection.”

“Hawkers here are not so much underprivileged but they go unnoticed.”

“The hawker culture is not dying out.”

Photos in this post are taken using the Sony Alpha A58.