Nurilkarim Razha, 26, manager at Jawi House Cafe Gallery
Submission video recipe: Prawn and pineapple gulai
What sets you apart from the other finalists?
For my age, I’m maybe a little bit more well-travelled and I’ve experienced a lot of different cuisines. To compare what I have experienced and what we have in Malaysia, I can say, very proudly, that we have equally good produce and equally beautiful things to share with the rest of the world.
What do you currently do?
I’m managing and cooking at our family-run cafe, Jawi House in George Town, Penang. It started off as a gallery but over time we decided to promote more of our local traditional heritage food. It’s pretty fun and I’ve learnt a lot along the way. I think promoting our local heritage is something very important.
What is your favourite dish to make?
I love comfort food, so I‘d say Malay food, but my ultimate favourite is cucur udang or prawn fritters, which is very traditional. I’ve served it in many places and It’s a winner every time.
How old were you when you first started cooking?
When I was eight or nine, but my professional career took off when I was 19. I entered college and then after that I worked in a restaurant.
What is your biggest pet peeve in the kitchen?
Hygiene for me is the first thing I look for. I worked in Japanese cuisine early on in my career so hygiene was definitely very important. I also absolutely hate people being late. You have to be punctual, and you must have very high standards when you’re around food. There’s no room for mediocrity.
Check out Nuril’s submission video where he teaches you to make prawn and pineapple gulai.