Vietnamese-Australian wins MasterChef Vietnam

Kieu Giang

Ngo Thanh Hoa, winner of the fi rst season of MasterChef Vietnam, with local media in HCMC last week - Photo: Kieu Giang

Ngo Thanh Hoa, winner of the fi rst season of MasterChef Vietnam, with local media in HCMC last week - Photo: Kieu Giang

The 40-year-old Vietnamese-Australian, marketing manager of HCMC-based Unique Design Company, brought home a cash prize of VND500 million, a cooking book under his name and a MasterChef Vietnam trophy. Hoa was evaluated as a chef with lots of skills and a good background in gastronomy.

Hoa was born in Phan Thiet in the central coastal province of Binh Thuan. His family moved to HCMC when he was 13. Hoa studied at Central Queensland University in Sydney majoring in marketing.

He started up as a dish cleaner at a restaurant for a year prior to becoming a waiter for four years, an assistant for three years and a manager. After 18 years living in Australia, he came back to Vietnam last year.

“I’m quite surprised and honored to be the first MasterChef Vietnam, the title that many people wish to achieve. This is a responsibility for me to preserve and promote Vietnamese dishes to the world. After the contest, I will make further plans to pursue my dream of cooking,” he said.

“I want to open a restaurant where gourmets can enjoy simple but delicious dishes accompanied with good coffee,” said Hoa.

Runner-up was Phan Quoc Tri, a 19-year-old student of HCMC University of Finance-Marketing.

The final episode of the first season of MasterChef Vietnam saw Hoa and Tri compete with each other on three dishes (an appetizer, a main course and a dessert) was aired on VTV3 channel last Friday night.

Hoa’s winning dishes consisted of sauté shrimp and mango salsa; sauté chicken with chili and couscous and raita and Panna cotta with pineapple jam. Tri, who was named the king of dessert in the contest, was unsuccessful with seafood soup, grilled beef served with Vietnamese-style vegetables and durian soufflé.

Hoa’s journey to MasterChef Vietnam was quite tough as he was eliminated at the audition round of the contest but made another dish in 30 minutes to convince the judging panel to give him another chance.

The panel consisted of Hoang Khai, chairman of Khaisilk Corp/owner of a chain of well-known restaurants and Vietnamese-Australian chef Luke Nguyen who hosts TV series Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam featuring Vietnamese street vendors and Phan Ton Tinh Hai, Hue-style chef.

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