Australian Training Consultant Warren Smith gives 4 approaches on how chefs can stay ahead of the competition and win at Culinaire Malaysia 2017.

Going into a competition is always a challenging process. For many people the notion of competition is daunting and stressful and it can eat you up, yet for others, they thrive.

Here are 4 approaches to not being lunch that may help you become a champion.


  • Research the competition. Know the rules, the expected outcomes – What are you meant to be preparing and cooking. How is it going to be judged? Is it a Panel of peers, a famous expert, the public or a mixture? Each combination will have different views on what you do. If you don’t prepare, you will be eaten up by your competitors
  • Visualise yourself winning. Write down your goal. See yourself receiving the prize. Be confident.
  • Check then rechecks your produce, methodology, resources and equipment. Do a checklist.
  • Read and then reread the rules of the competition. Avoid mistakes, embarrassment and misunderstandings on the day.


  • Practise and practise. Again obvious. Is this a signature dish or are you going to experiment? Practise until you are confident and you can eliminate flaws. Check time management and ensure you have the ingredients available and correct.
  • Have a backup or contingency plan. Be ready to change or adjust if needed.
  • Watch a video (if available) of your competitors. Respect them but focus on your own methods and strategies. Know something about their strengths
  • Look after yourself. Avoid fatigue by having 7-8 hours sleep the night before the competition. Eat good food and don’t skip meals because of the stress.
  • Relax. Take some time to relax, listen to music, watch a video, and go for a walk or do whatever that makes you relax.

Be safe:

  • Check all your equipment. Have you got any safety gear or clothing you need? Are goggles or gloves, knives sharpened, and utensils in safe and top order?
  • Food storage containers that are clean, available and organised to avoid cross contamination.
  • Be hydrated. Take plenty of water (or other suitable drink) and some snacks to avoid energy loss. Avoid too much coffee or caffeine-type drinks
  • Dress for the venue. How well is it air conditioned, or not. Be comfortable so that you can concentrate.
  • Have a large bag where you can store all your vital equipment and tools and personal items in.

Competitive Spirit and Winning Edge:

  • Practise effective time management. Getting it right on the day is so critical.
  • Be positive and persistent. Grit often wins out by hanging tough when the going gets hard or difficult.

Never quit! Take control of the situation.

  • Don’t over-complicate what you are doing and enjoy the experience of the competition.
  • If necessary, take a risk or two. Don’t always be predictable. Surprise or disrupt your competitors.