Malaysia - Rodolphe Onno
Chef Rôtisseur
Technical Director of Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia
" As a chef in a foreign country I feel that it’s important to pay attention to local food habits "

The Revue internationale talked to Rodolphe Onno about the melting pot of culinary traditions in Malaysia and how the training programmes delivered by Le Cordon Bleu embrace that diversity.

A Frenchman by birth, Rodolphe says it is an honour to represent his profession away from his native country. It is also a responsibility that he takes very seriously.

“As a chef in a foreign country I feel that it’s important to pay attention to local food habits, to find out about the ingredients and different cuisines of Malaysia.”

This involves combining the very best local ingredients with fresh products imported from France, such as foie gras, offal, some meat, and fish, including monkfish, gilt-head bream and red mullet.

Malaysia is a multi-cultural society consisting of different races and religions, living in harmony together. This diversity is reflected in its culinary heritage. With so many ways to use the same products, herbs and spices, there is an infinite variety of new dishes just waiting to be discovered and tasted.

“It’s very exciting for any chef. We have a tradition of street food and food courts, within which all the cultural culinary influences are mixed up.”

Rodolphe’s role as Technical Director of Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia involves teaching on the cuisine course, managing and supervising the teams as well as the academic operation of the school to keep everything running smoothly, upholding quality standards and ensuring students make the required progress in French culinary techniques across both the cuisine and pastry courses.

“Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia trains students in French cuisine and patisserie techniques. Our syllabuses cover the use of local ingredients with a French twist. We produce dishes such as ‘ikan kerisi’ (local red mullet) à la grenobloise and quail stuffed with durian, coconut, quail gravy with tamarind and bitter snake gourd stew. We focus on incorporating local ingredients and flavours.”

The team of chefs at Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia have published a cookery book, ‘A Touch of French’, that emphasises this approach and combines French techniques with Malaysian ingredients.

“Simplicity is beauty - the link between the two cultures can be found throughout our dishes, with generous sprinklings of Guérande salt (Brittany) and stunning freshly ground white Sarawak pepper.”

Durian-stuffed quail with mashed sweet potatoes is a signature dish of Rodolphe Onno that appears in A Touch of French. Durian - the king of fruits - is a special ingredient from Malaysia that is known for its strong odour.

There are many cultivars of durian, all classified with a code number beginning with ‘D’. Rodolphe uses D24, described as a ‘neutral’ cultivar that is a good introduction to durian as its classic bittersweet taste is neither overly bitter nor sweet and it has very thick and creamy flesh.

When this dish was served as the main course at a Bailliage of Malaysia dinner in 2015 it received rave reviews.

Amanda Roberts
Editor, Revue internationale de la Chaîne