Ipoh-Born Ping Coombes Wins MasterChef 2014 By Cooking Nasi Lemak And Wanton Soup

Full-time mother and self-professed ‘feeder’ Catherine Chin Wan Ping Coombes does her motherland proud by winning MasterChef UK 2014 with wanton soup and nasi lemak.

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After honing her culinary skills over eight weeks, Catherine Chin Wan Ping Coombes, an Ipoh-born, has been named the winner of the tenth series of BBC One's cooking programme MasterChef

Proud of her Malaysian culinary heritage, Catherine Chin Wang Ping Coombes poses with her MasterChef UK 2014 trophy.

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The full-time mum cooked a three-course Malaysian-inspired meal to beat graduate Jack Lucas and robotics engineer Luke Owen in the final, after eight weeks of competition.

Although based in the UK, Ipoh-born Catherine Chin Wan Ping Coombes, who formerly worked as an assistant hotel manager of a private hospital, is still deeply proud of the taste of home.

The 32-year-old full-time mother from Bath wowed judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace with her dishes inspired by her Malaysian upbringing

Working it: Coombes seen in action during one of the show's many cooking challenges.

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For her final task she was asked to prepare a three-course meal. Her winning menu featured her personal take on a Chinese wonton dumpling soup, a main of nasi lemak rice from her native Malaysia in a coconut and pandan sauce and a coconut and vanilla panna cotta for dessert.

Judge Greg Wallace called Ping's cooking: "Original, so damn clever, and delicious", with both judges agreeing that Ping was the "clear winner"

Wan Ping Coombes (second from left) won the UK Masterchef 2014 title last night, beating two other finallists, Luke Owen and Jack Lucas.

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Ping's Malaysian-inspired spread earned superlative comments from judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace. According to online reports of Coombes’ victory, Torode is quoted as saying of her starter: “It’s truly delicious. I don’t know how you made it. I wouldn’t be able to replicate it. It’s absolutely stunning.”

The Australian chef Torode added: “For me Ping is a cook’s cook, she gets her head down and she works really, really hard to make sure she reaches her goal. She is pretty amazing.” Meanwhile, veteran host Wallace quipped: “She inspires me, she excites me. And she cares so much. Rarely have I seen someone whose repertoire can span whole continents.”

Runners-up Jack, a recent graduate from Exeter University, and Luke, a sales engineer for a robotics company, both praised Ping, and said that the best chef had won.

Of her victory, Ping compared its magnitude to when she gave birth to her daughter, now-17-month-old, Alexa

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Ping said after winning: “The last time I felt such emotion was when my daughter was born - something you don’t get to experience a lot. Pure joy, pure bliss, that feels incredible. Epic!”

Despite winning, Ping was less optimistic about her chances being allowed to cook in her mother’s kitchen. “My mother will be really proud I’m sure. I say this a lot but she still won’t let me in her kitchen.”

Ping, who attributes her cooking skills to her mother and grandmother, stated that she first started cooking while studying in Oxford, and learnt to recreate her mother's dishes to satisfy her cravings.

Speaking on the highs and lows in the competition, Ping said: “I think the time I loved most was my time in Barcelona. Spain really does bring something out in me. Spain seemingly opened her arms and showed me her magic. I loved every moment especially cooking for Ferran Adria and I felt that anything was possible. Apart from my wedding and the birth of my daughter, the time I spent in Spain was truly magical.”

Ping's winning dishes:

Ping's three-course meal for the final challenge was truly Malaysian-inspired, albeit with a dash of plating magic. Seen in the top pic is her spread of three dishes comprising (clockwise from top) wanton soup, nasi lemak and vanilla and coconut panacotta. Coombes' creative touches came to the fore in the presentation of her wanton soup (middle pic) and nasi lemak (bottom pic).

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On her plans after winning, the one-time hotel manager hopes to open a Malaysian cafe and cookery school

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On her plans after winning, Ping said that she would like to learn more about East Asian cuisine and perhaps venture into the restaurant business or open a cookery school.

This is not the first time a Malaysian-born has appeared in MasterChef shows in other countries

In 2009, KL-born Poh Ling Yeow became runner-up of the first season of MasterChef Australia. In 2011, Penang-born Adam Liaw ended up winning the second season of MasterChef Australia, while KL-born co-contestant Alvin Quah made it to the first round of the final six. Meanwhile, Malaysian-born Natasha Shan is currently competing in the sixth season of MasterChef Australia.

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