masterchef gregg wallace john torode

MasterChef judges defend controversial Malaysian chicken comments

MasterChef semi-finals continue on Wednesday

Sharnaz Shahid

MasterChef judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode have responded to the criticism they received after eliminating a contestant for her "undercooked" chicken. During Knockout Week, Malaysia-born contestant Zaleha Kadir Olpin made the Malaysian rice dish Nasi Lemak with chicken rendang. However, the judges were critical about the dish which they said wasn't "crispy" enough, leading Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak to even weigh in the debate. Appearing on Wednesday's Good Morning Britain, Greg and John justified their decision.


Gregg Wallace and John Torode appeared on Wednesday's GMB

"What happened was, part of her dish was a rendang," explained Gregg. "I said that the skin wasn't crispy. I didn't mean it should be fried, like fried chicken. What I meant was, it wasn't cooked and it simply wasn't cooked… But rest assured, the best cooks will always go through!" John added: "That's the point, the best cooks go through. And if you look at the final eight, the food that they're producing is unbelievable. I did a whole series on Malaysia. Malaysian food is fantastic. I absolutely love it. I said to her, 'It wasn't cooked enough'. That's what I said. I exactly did say that."

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Gregg, 53, then admitted that his use of the word "crispy" was perhaps used incorrectly. "She didn't go out because her skin wasn't crispy," he said. "She went out because the other cooks were better. If you look at it, you can tell the skin just wasn't cooked. It's white and flappy. 'Crispy' was the wrong word. But the skin wasn't cooked." On Tuesday night, PM Najib Razak tweeted a picture of the curry dish along with the caption: "Does anyone eat chicken rendang 'crispy'? #MalaysianFood". A Facebook page has since been set up in Malaysia demanding "Justice for Chicken Rendang" and demanding an apology from the MasterChef judges.

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