HELP CAT Culinary Arts Diploma in collaboration with Institut Paul Bocuse, France
With professionals and a renowned chef on board, the Centre of Culinary
Entrepreneurship is set to ensure that only the best is given to its culinary arts students.IT has been Niroshen Manni’s dream since he was in Form Five to become a chef.
Inspired by his late mother, he wants to keep her memory alive.
“My mother was a really good cook who used to prepare all my favourite dishes for me.
“I like cooking and hope I can be as good as my mother some day,” he says.
Niroshen also enjoys baking, particularly mango cakes.
“I haven’t decided if I will open my own business or work in the hospitality industry.
“I am learning a lot here so I will be able to make the decision when I complete my studies,” says the second year Diploma in Culinary Arts student at the HELP College of Arts and Technology (CAT).
According to Centre of Culinary Entrepreneurship and Hotel Management director
Andrew Pennington, the Diploma in Culinary Arts ensures students have a sound foundation in both culinary and entrepreneurial skills.
“I wish I had known these skills when I was working as this would have made me a better manager,” he says.
Pennington says the selling points of the diploma include a strong HELP brand and good central location in Kuala Lumpur.
“It is also a small cohort so we know our students well and ensure they receive individualised attention,” he adds.
Maverick Chong, who is also a second year Diploma in Culinary Arts student, likes the small classes as he gets more attention.
Fellow coursemate Yau Jen Nee agrees, saying that it is thanks to the lecturers’ approachability that students are not intimidated.
“Our lecturers are like our friends so we don’t feel shy when we have a question,” she adds.
The Diploma in Culinary Arts programme at HELP CAT was developed in collaboration with the renowned Institut Paul Bocuse of France. Bocuse is a French chef based in Lyon, known for his three Michelin star restaurants.
According to Centre of Culinary Entrepreneurship and Hotel Management lecturer Eddie Tan, a lot of work has been put into the conceptualisation of the curriculum.
“We designed the facilities to accommodate the curriculum and formed the initial team to work on the details for each specialised culinary related skill sets.
“A lot of work was also put into choosing the right equipment, finding a suitable vendor and designing the space layout,” adds Tan.
“At the time, the staff from the Institut assisted us in refining the curriculum content
and lesson plans. Several chefs also helped out with the teaching materials including the recipes,” he says.
But a unique point is also having Pennington on board as the director of HELP CAT’s Centre of Culinary Entrepreneurship and Hotel Management.
Pennington brings a wealth of experience gained from working in the hospitality industry in various roles for more than 20 years.
He has worked in many countries including Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Dubai, Oman and Europe.
“I’m quite a sociable person so I felt the industry was the right path for me to take,” he says.
Subsequently while working in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Pennington picked up some Cantonese and Mandarin as well.
After travelling the world, he decided to study for a Master’s Degree in Hospitality from Thames Valley University, London and is currently in the final stages of completing a PhD at the University of West London, United Kingdom (UK).
He is also a qualified teacher, holding a postgraduate diploma in Teaching and Learning and a Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages (TESOL) qualification.
Pennington says his role at the Centre of Culinary Entrepreneurship and Hotel Management is to ensure the students are employable, ready for the industry and to maintain academic standards.
“We can’t babysit the students as they need to be prepared.”
He acknowledges that it is a great industry to be in as one can travel the world.
“I have served many people including the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Bon Jovi and the Spice Girls, and experienced new cultures and languages,” he says.
Pennington has been told he looks like renowned British chef Gordon Ramsay but is he anything like him in temperament?
“It is important to be tough as students need to learn to be on time as this prepares them for the industry but I believe in the 4Fs which is firm, fun, friendly and flexible,” he says.
To further build the students’ confidence, HELP CAT also run a pastry shop within the
Tan says the shop is called PASTE3 as it sounds like the word “pastry”. The number three comes into play because the shop is on level three of the building housing the institution.
“Students from all cohorts run it together under our internal Junior Chef’s Club. It is good for the students to practise their pastry skills and taste the spirit of entrepreneurship,” he adds.
Tan says the pastry chef and boulanger (baker) mentor the students on product ranges, and eventually, it will be fully planned and operated by the students.
The baking is done between classes and sometimes on Saturdays.
As for the lecturers, Tan says they have industry experience of between five to 20 years each.
There are currently six chefs including a specialist pastry chef, Chinese cuisine chef, French cuisine chef, boulanger and a part-time dim sum chef.
Other experts include a food and beverage service specialist, a marketing specialist and a business specialist.
There are five state-of-the-art kitchens; two European, two Chinese and an open Western kitchen and restaurant which are geared towards students learning and developing their skills in various types of cuisine.
“The Centre of Culinary Entrepreneurship is special in many ways as it is international, with both East and West culinary cultures.
“It is also enterprising in that it goes beyond training as Andrew and his team nurture entrepreneurship among the students,” he says.
This is why, he adds, it is called the Centre of Culinary Entrepreneurship and not just a centre for culinary training.
“The staff-student ratio, the course content, teaching pedagogy and the quality of the materials used are of global standards. We have one of the best kitchens around as well,” adds Dr Chan.
And to add to the feather in the centre’s cap, he announced that Steve Allen, the former head chef at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s in London, UK, would be an industry advisor.
Allen who is currently The Delicious Group Sdn Bhd chief executive officer, says he is looking forward to working closely with HELP.
At a special event called “A Night with Steve Allen” held recently, he worked with a group of culinary arts students to create a fine dining event for 60 guests.
“The students did most of the work while my team and I supervised. We did a wide range of dishes with local influences so they could gain an overall range of skills,” he says.
Allen also acknowledged the students’ confidence and professional manner.
Diploma in Culinary Arts at HELP College of Arts & Technology
Centre for Culinary Entrepreneurship, conducts diploma programmes in culinary arts.
In the Diploma in Culinary Arts, the students are provided with a sound foundation not only in culinary skills but also entrepreneurial know-how.
This programme is developed in collaboration with the world-renowned Institut Paul Bocuse of France and educational philosophies are based on those of Chef Paul Bocuse himself. As such, the programme offers student 60% of learning by practice and 40% of management knowledge and skills. Graduates of the Diploma in Culinary Arts will acquire the fundamentals of the French and Chinese cuisines, and management know-how to meet the challenges of careers in the food-related industries.
Why Culinary Arts @ HELP CAT
- A unique approach to teaching and learning of culinary arts.
- Preparation of highly adaptable students for the fast-changing trends in the culinary industry.
- Collaboration with the prestigious Institut Paul Bocuse which focuses on quality teaching and learning.
- High-quality kitchen equipment with the latest technology.
- Highly-experienced lecturers with proven industrial, professional and teaching track records.
- Well-planned training kitchens that promote exploration of cooking techniques, teamwork, commercialism and entrepreneurship.
- Focus is on French and Chinese cuisine as anchor for culinary education.
- A combination of 60% practical learning and 40% management know-how produces highly capable and employable graduates.
- Small classes for a better learning environment – (1:12 for practical classes and 1:25 for theory classes)
- A five-month internship (industrial training) at the end of the second year.
On board as industry advisor is Steve Allen, a British national is currently CEO, The Delicious Group Sdn Bhd, Eastern & Oriental Berhad. Prior to relocating to Malaysia Mr Allen worked as Executive Chef at the prestigious ‘Gordon Ramsay Restaurant’ in Claridges Hotel, London. Other achievements include:
2001 – Gordon Ramsay Scholarship, finalist
2003 – Young chef of the year, finalist
2004 – Young chef of the year, second place
2008 – National chef of the year, finalist
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