When I first joined my new work place as a medical officer, my thoughts were on career advancement. I had chosen Radiology as my field of interest and now, it was time to work towards my goal. Of course, like any new employee stepping into a brand new working environment, there was anxiety. I was anxious of the unknown, of the people who were to be my colleagues. Knowledge is something I knew I would inevitably acquire but I was more anxious about my colleagues. You either get along or you don’t. And if you don’t, well, let’s just say it can either make or break you. I remembered my first encounter with Dr Nur Shahida binti Wahab. She struck me as a person with a rather quiet demeanour. Little did I know about her hidden talent, but I would soon be awestruck by this budding MasterChef doctor.
Of Humble Beginnings
“It started like how many of us did, being my mum’s helper in the kitchen.”DR SHAHIDA, medical officer and masterchef malaysia participant Season 2 (2012)
Of course, there is more to the story than just helping out her mother in the kitchen. While many of us cringe at the idea of spending ‘quality time’ cooking, Shahida’s road to culinary cooking was a result of cumulative experiences. “I guess the pièce de résistance would be my university experience in Glasgow. We would have a communal gathering every now and then. Each of us were tasked to prepare simple dishes for the fraternity, and that is how my love for cooking began.” She would soon experiment with various styles of cooking and perfecting them according to her own unique rendition.
“I’ve always had a predilection for desserts. It is no wonder that I spent most of my time whipping up new dessert ideas. And then I learnt how to master Malay cuisine during my Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Glasgow,” said Shahida. She recalled fond memories of cook-out sessions and potlucks during her university days as precursors to her cooking mastery. Little did she know it would soon lead to an unforgettable MasterChef experience…
The MasterChef Experience
“Never in my wildest dream did I think I would be chosen. It was a pleasant surprise.”Dr Shahida
At some point we have all had that same thought. How cool it would be to join a reality TV show! Of course, what are the odds of us making the cut. There are just so many talents out there that we wonder what actually sets us apart from the rest. Shahida was like the rest of us. She saw an advertisement on Astro and thought why not. “I attended the audition at Taylor’s University with some 800 participants without any expectations. To my delight, I got the call to join the preliminary rounds,” exclaimed Shahida.
She made one of her signature dishes, brinjal parmesan for the first round of selections. Lo and behold, she got her second callback! The second round was more daunting; the dreaded recorded interview. She overcame all camera shyness and spoke about herself with confidence, paving her way to the third round. The third round was even more challenging. It was to be a cook off amongst the final contestents at picturesque Janda Baik. This time her delicious ‘Mee Bandung‘ was the winning formula. She was officially a ‘MasterChef Malaysia’ participant.
At that point she was a fresh medical graduate with a penchant for cooking and baking. “The whole experience was one I would cherish forever. It taught me a lot about cooking under pressure and honing my skills,” said Shahida. Though she did not win, it was the experience that mattered the most. All in all, it was a stepping stone and a great learning experience.
Cooking From The Heart
I’m usually picky about the content of my subject. I can only write if I absolutely believe in the story. After meeting and knowing Shahida, hers is a story that comes straight from the heart. She resembles the rest of us. A modern day female holding a demanding job, raising a family, juggling career advancement and her cooking passion. There are no embellishments to her art. Not only does she cook from the heart, but she is also considerate and caring for her colleagues. At work, when it is stressful, her cooking is the one thing we look forward to. Almost every fortnight, our food cravings will be satiated by her generosity.
“The thought of selling my food never crossed my mind. I cook because in a way it gives me that peace of mind, other than the fact that I really enjoy it,” enthused Shahida. In addition to that, she is never alone in the kitchen. Her five-year old daughter is her constant companion as well as her sous-chef de cuisine. Together, they have whipped up amazing dishes that will make you go gaga!
The MasterChef With The Midas Touch
In life, we stumble upon people with all sorts of characters. Some we grow fond of and others we despise. But there are only a handful who will inspire and motivate us in the most profound way. No doubt she has the Midas touch in food but what touched me the most is her compassion and kindness. Through my colleagues, I learnt what teamwork actually meant and through her, I saw subtlety woven into an incredible talent. It doesn’t matter that she didn’t win the coveted ‘MasterChef ‘ title. To us and those who know her, she is a gastronomic ‘Midas’ queen with a golden heart.
Follow Dr Shahida’s YouTube channel for more recipes and cooking ideas. Drop a comment if you wish to order. Try another simple yet delicious recipe below:
Creamy Potato Salad
- 1.5-2kg new potatoes
- 200g beef/chicken breakfast strips
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 5 boiled eggs (peeled and mashed)
- 4 whole shallots, diced
- 20g chives, chopped
- 400ml mayonnaise
- 100g sour cream
- 1-1½ tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1-1½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Wash and dry potatoes. Cut into bite size cubes.
- Preheat the oven at 175 °C, fan assisted.
- In a large bowl, toss the potato cubes with oil, ¾ of the onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Arrange on a baking tray that has been lined with aluminium foil that has been greased with oil/cooking spray.
- Place the tray in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
- In the meantime, fry the breakfast slices/strips in a pan (without oil) and cool slightly before cutting into smaller strips.
- Once the potatoes are done, remove the tray from the oven and let cool for about 30-45 minutes.
- When potatoes are cooler, mix with the breakfast strips, mayonnaise, diced shallots, chopped chives, mashed boiled eggs, remaining onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Ready to be enjoyed! *Tastes even better once chilled in the refrigerator overnight.
Dr Shahida was also featured in the previous article: Fear Of Braces – Unlocking The Alternatives With Aligners
All images and video used with permission from Dr Shahida.