MasterChef UK judges are desperately defending themselves from ‘Rendangate’ – but the heat is turning up on them

MasterChef UK judges John Torode (left) and Gregg Wallace.
Facebook/ Gregg Wallace

In a desperate bid to retract from the ‘Rendangate’ fiasco, MasterChef UK Judge Gregg Wallace now claims that the chicken rendang he tasted was “not cooked”, reported The Star Online.

Appearing on British television programme Good Morning Britain (GMB) with fellow judge and celebrity chef John Torode on Wednesday (Apr 4), Wallace said: “What I meant was that it wasn’t cooked. It simply wasn’t cooked.”

The Rendangate controversy erupted after MasterChef UK contestant Zaleha Kadir Olpin, who hails from Malaysia, was criticised by the judges for not cooking her chicken rendang according to their standards during a quarter-final episode.

She was eliminated from the competition afterwards.

It was specifically Wallace’s questionable remark about her rendang not being crispy enough that sparked a furore on social media – it even captured the attention of Malaysia’s political leaders.

Social media users from Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei soon entered the fray to defend the integrity of the popular dish.

When asked by GMB’s Kate Garraway, Wallace said that Zaleha was eliminated simply because “the other cooks were better”.

“Rest assured, the best cooks will always go through,” he added.

Torode attempted to justify their decision by saying that he “did a whole series on Malaysia” and had called the country’s food “fantastic”.

Wallace had earlier noted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s post on Twitter and Instagram which read: “Where do people eat chicken rendang that is ‘crispy’?”

Wallace said: “Oh for crying out loud…the Malaysian Prime Minister has got involved as well.”

And apparently it’s not just Malaysia’s political leaders and social media users who are continuing to turn up the heat on Rendangate.

On Wednesday (April 4), the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) made reference to the controversy by adding the hashtag #CrispyRendang to its advisory posted on Facebook about fires caused by unattended cooking.

The accompanying picture features an unattended cooking pan – labelled “le ‘crispy’ rendang” – setting fire to a nearby kitchen mitten. We see what you did there, SCDF.

The US ambassador to Brunei also joined in the fun with a cheeky Instagram post on the same day showing him having chicken rendang and rice for lunch.

The caption reads: “Enjoying a sunny #Brunei day eating some chicken rendang for lunch. Perfect just the way it is.”


Not wanting to take the matter lying down, Malaysia Airlines also jumped on the bandwagon with a Facebook post featuring its onboard nasi lemak meal.

“If the crispy conversations have got you craving for some nasi lemak, served with REAL chicken rendang, sambal, boiled egg, ikan bilis and peanuts, just come onboard. Guaranteed NON-CRISPY,” the post reads.