The inaugural "Battle of the Chefs" was held in July 1988 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Penang. It started with the participants of only 60 chefs from the most hotels in Penang. Judges were sourced locally. At the end of the competition, 8 Gold, 26 Silver and 16 Bronze were awarded.
Despite their humble beginning, this biennial event witnessed a dramatic jump in the number of participants when it was held in 1990. A total of 165 chefs "gladiators" congregated in the Geodesic Dome of Komtar to pit their skills and culinary wizardry for honor and fame. The competitors had taken 24 Gold, 32 Silver and 43 Bronze medals. The younger chefs were the ones walked away with the most number of golds!
When it came to the 3rd "Battle of the Chefs" held in 1991, the number of participants again jumped to 198 and 21 Gold, 55 Silver and 58 Bronze medals were awarded. A testimony of improvement and increase awareness, no less, of event itself and all the hard work paid off.
A great turning point came about when the 4th "Battle of the Chefs" held in June 1993. The World Association of Cooks Societies, State Government of Penang, among many other associations and bodies extended their endorsement to the event. Eventually, the "Battle of the Chefs" has taken a new identity - Penang International Salon Gastronomique.
The 5th and 6th Penang International Salon Gastronomique set a record of 278 participating chefs from all over the Asian region, reflecting the enthusiasm among the regional culinary circle. With this influx of culinary professionals from neighbouring nations the standard of the competition can only reach a higher level.
The 7th Penang International Salon Gastronomique again achieved 3 "first"s. 1. The event being moved to the premier venue for events and exhibitions - Penang International Sports Arena (PISA); 2. The incorporations of Sajian 99, the brainchild of YB Dato Kee Phaik Cheen, the Hons. Advisor to CAM Penang Chapter. The Sajian is an expo for exhibition of traders related to the Food and Beverage industries. It provides excellent opportunities for the Hospitality industry related business to showcase their products and services; 3. The other first being the introduction of Live Hot Cooking Competition, upon the overwhelming demand from the contestant! In all, 15 Gold, 58 Silver and 87 Bronze medals were awarded.
As for the 8th and 9th Penang International Salon Gastronomique, the combined number of competitors from the Live Hot Cooking, exceeded 115, beyond our wildest expectations, so much so that it has to be held throughout the 3 days and at separate sessions! This salon sees a record of 300 eager chefs "gladiators" competing in a total of over 500 classes of competition.