Fr John Sim examining all the mouth-watering dishes. Photos: Church of Christ the King (CTK) Cooking Competition Committee

This year, the feast day of the Church of Christ the King (CTK) on Nov 22 was observed without our usual celebration dinner because of Covid-19. Instead, Father John Sim, our parish priest, initiated the idea of a cooking competition to invite parishioners to celebrate in a smaller, but still meaningful, way. The event, aptly called “Cook for the King”, was held on Nov 14.

In line with safe management guidelines, 21 participants, both young and old, whipped up their dishes at home and brought them to the church, laying out a colourful array of dishes representing Chinese, Filipino, French, Indian, Indonesian, Peranakan and Vietnamese cuisines.

The judge was Singapore celebrity chef Eric Low, a non-Catholic Christian and alumni of St Joseph’s Institution. Laughter filled the air as he interviewed the cooks, reviewed their presentations and tasted the food.

The king of entries was Gilbert Oon’s Peranakan ayam ponteh served with Baba fried mee. At 82 and still passionate about cooking, he proudly showcased the traditional Peranakan dishes he had learned from his grandmother when young. Baptised a Catholic at 80, Gilbert’s grandmother had always advised him that “the way to win the hearts of the people is through their stomachs.” This is his guiding principle whenever he cooks for the Lunchtime Ladle at our parish, an initiative with Catholic Welfare Services to serve food to the lonely elderly and homeless in Ang Mo Kio.

Close behind Gilbert were Betty Ong with her nangka lemak (young jackfruit), and Noel Yeo and his ayam kapitan (Nonya chicken curry). Our youngest contestants, Jules Migell Mapaye Ampo, 13, and Sandra Maria Sunil, 14, were also highly commended. Sandra, a regular in school cooking competitions, shared that she was delighted to be able to interact and learn from the more experienced contestants.

Certainly, Covid-19 has not dampened the enthusiasm of the CTK parishioners to imitate Christ’s Kingship! The Solemnity of Christ the King reminds us all of our call to uplift the poor and the hungry. Jesus ruled with gentleness and kindness. In that same spirit, let us lay our talents in service of others as we make His Kingdom come.

Contributed by: Church of Christ the King Cooking Competition Committee