Proposed ban on foreign cooks not cast in stone

GEORGE TOWN - The proposed ban on foreigners as principal cooks of popular local dishes is not definite and the state government will consider feedback before making a final decision.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said this in response to Chef Wan's (Datuk Redzuawan Ismail) view that the proposal was ridiculous.

"Chef Wan may not agree with it but others may. He's entitled to his views and we respect his criticism," he said after launching an elevated walkway at the upper station of the Penang Hill funicular railway yesterday.

Lim reiterated that the state was trying to preserve the authenticity of its hawker fare.

"Our hawker food is famous throughout the world.

"Many people come to Penang mainly for its food."

"If we lose it, then Penang is finished. We must maintain our branding as the top street food destination in Malaysia," he said, adding that anyone, including foreigners, could provide their feedback.

"What's important is feedback from hawkers, Penangites and visitors. If the feedback says 'no', then it is a no."

Lim raised the matter last Saturday, saying that the proposal was made out of concern that the state's reputation as a street food haven would be eroded if the popular local dishes were prepared by foreigners.