Zaleha Olpin aka “That Rendang Lady” is the MasterChef UK contestant who was eliminated under controversial circumstances when the judges booted her on the wrong premise that rendang was meant to be crispy.
Prior to that incident, Zaleha had spent many years living the expat life in Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Middle East, as she followed her husband on his worldly adventures. Craving the taste of Malaysian food from her mum’s kitchen and their local street vendor favourites, Zaleha developed a passion to cook and share traditional Malaysian dishes with the world.
The controversy surrounding her elimination in MasterChef UK turned out to be a ‘blessing in disguise’ and she has gone on to publish her first cookbook, “My Rendang Isn’t Crispy and Other Favourite Malaysian Dishes”, which has won the World’s Best in its nominated category in the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Award.
Zaleha has collaborated with several prominent organisations such as the W Hotel Kuala Lumpur, ASDA, Rajah, Cookpad, the University of Bristol, The Great British Food Festival, Waitrose, 91ways and the London Muslim Festival. She was also given the honour of cooking with the previous UK High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Victoria Treadell, in 2018 as part of a gastrodiplomacy session, and she is part of the UK Sainsbury’s Taste Makers team.
Today, she runs Malaysian Kitchen UK and hosts various supper clubs and pop-ups around the country as well as food demos at festivals. She is the founder of ‘That Rendang Lady’, selling Malaysian products such as Rendang and Sambal Paste.