Ping Coombes won MasterChef 2014, stunning the judges with food inspired by her Malaysian heritage and is now Executive Chef at Chi Kitchen.
Born and raised in the town of Ipoh in Malaysia, which is famous for its pomelo fruit, chicken noodles, rice and Ipoh white coffee, Ping grew up with amazing food around her and was inspired by her mother’s cookery. She began to inherit traditional skills, starting with the basics - how to hold the ‘wok chan’ (the ladle). Perhaps most inspiring to Ping was her mother’s way of showing love and passion through cooking, something which is hugely important in Ping’s food ethos.
This passion was apparent during MasterChef, and since being crowned winner Ping has become a Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador, promoting Malaysian food across the UK and around the world. She has given talks about Malaysian food at the World Economic Forum in Davos, appeared at Malaysia Nights in Trafalgar Square, and other festivals including Taste of London, and is involved in MasterChef pop-ups in Asia. Ping works with premium ski operator Scott Dunn, designing their winter and summer menus and training their chefs. She recently launched Chairman Ping, a street food and catering company specialising in steamed baos.
In March 2016 Ping was appointed Executive Chef for Chi Kitchen, the contemporary pan-Asian restaurant located in Debenhams on Oxford Street and Debenhams in the Bulling, Birmingham. Ping works closely with the Chi Kitchen team, adding her unique style to the diverse menus and inspiring guests with her passion for the dishes she creates. Ping develops Chi Kitchen’s offering of contemporary, colourful, and delicious menus influenced by Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean cuisine.
Ping appears in The Good Food Channel’s John Torode’s Malaysian Adventure to be broadcast this year, and recently made a series of videos for Videojug’s food channel Scoff. Ping’s first book MALAYSIA was published in May 2016 by Orion Books.
I would certainly say Pub in the Park is up there with one of best things I have ever done, the atmosphere and buzz over those 3 days was just electric and I felt so lucky to be a part of it all. All in all, we served around 4000 dishes over the 3 days, the most popular being the Mackerel Taco which sold out on each session, I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd though as they were all willing to try the other dishes we had to offer. One of my favourite moments had to be that I got to celebrate my birthday which was on the Sunday In such an incredible way, meeting a huge amount of kind and wonderful people as well as watching The Milk who are one of my favourite bands.
Wow - what an incredible, amazing weekend! The vibe was fantastic; the food was stunning, the music outstanding, but above all else, the people of Marlow made the whole event feel very special. It showed off our lovely town to all our visitors and the chefs from all over the country and did us proud.