Gordon Ramsay gets tips from Hawker Heroes Lucy Lim and Ryan Goh | Photoi: HungryGoWhere
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is raising his game to win the Hawker Heroes challenge taking place Sunday 7 July.
On Saturday, Ramsay visited 328 Katong Laksa to get tips from mother-and-son team, Lucy Lim and Ryan Goh, on how to prepare the dish – thick rice noodles in a curry coconut milk-based soup served with cockles and shrimps.
Ramsay arrived close to 1pm and was ushered directly by security personnel to meet Lim and Goh. He later shook hands and autographed memorabilia for supporters and other hawkers.
When asked how confident he was about the cooking contest after meeting all three hawkers, he replied: "My team and I, we've upped our game. We did not get to bed until 4.30am. We are up against the best of the best."
Ramsay would not elaborate further: "Do you think I'm going to be that stupid to give that away now, ahead of the competition?"
He did, however, mention what he uncovered at 328 Katong Laksa and Jumbo Seafood Restaurant.
"Do you think I'm going to be that stupid to give that away now, ahead of the competition?"
"For me, the secret (to the laksa) is the blend. More importantly, they start (the blend) fresh every hour. So the secret to the laksa here is (that it is) not too sweet. She knows her stuff, this one. I thought it would be good, but I didn't think it was going to be that good. Instantly, the minute I started tasting (it), I knew I had to start changing mine a bit."
Of what he learned at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, he said, "Crazy. They use tomato ketchup in the sauce. No inhibitions. It's naked cuisine in a way that it's what the locals want. Customers vote with their feet – this place is full on a daily basis. At the end of the day, I've learnt not to get hung up about the ketchup. I've learnt to understand why and how they arrive at that flavour."
On what he thinks will be his biggest obstacle on game night: "The most challenging thing is making sure that we have consistency for 1,000 guests. So the secret I have for tomorrow is the consistency, and the wok. There are already 2.5 million votes – half the city has voted for these guys. I'm going to have to move my arse, (and) seriously concentrate purely on the freshness and flavour. More importantly, there are three of them, and one of me."
The cook-off between Ramsay and the three selected hawkers will take place, rain or shine, on Sunday 7 July at 6.30pm at Newton Food Centre. It is a free event open to the public on a first-come-first-served basis.
Watch Ramsay's visit to 328 Katong Laksa here: