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Buffet spread of courses for food and beverage careers

THINGS are looking up for those in the food and beverage (F&B) industry or those seeking careers in it...culinary arts, pastry and bakery, F&B service and beverage service. Students in the four tracks...
The Straits Times - November 12, 2011
By: Stacey Chia
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Buffet spread of courses for food and beverage careers

THINGS are looking up for those in the food and beverage (F&B) industry or those seeking careers in it.

Scholarships for degree-level programmes in tourism and the F&B trade will be given out from next year by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to individuals nominated by their companies. The scholarship will cover up to 90 per cent of the programme fees.

And, in a fillip for training in professional F&B skills, the At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy was officially opened yesterday.

The first integrated Continuing Education and Training (CET) centre for the F&B industry, it will bring together training for all F&B professions - from culinary and pastry chefs to F&B managers and baristas - under one roof.

A collaboration between the WDA and the 11-year-old At-Sunrice has bumped up the academy's offerings: It now runs 54 new courses spread out among four specialisation tracks - culinary arts, pastry and bakery, F&B service and beverage service.

Students in the four tracks will now be exposed to a wider range of courses.

Former preschool teacher Leong Lye Chan, 55, for example, who is six weeks into a 17-month programme for a diploma in Pastry and Bakery Arts at the academy, will also take classes in wine pairing, preparing coffee and knife techniques, among other areas.

She said: 'I think it's not enough just knowing how to bake. If someone wants to hire a baker, I think they'll be more willing to choose me if I also have knowledge in say, wine pairing or mixing cocktails.'

Before At-Sunrice was upgraded into an integrated CET, its courses focused on culinary and baking skills, and students were trained only in their selected area.

There are two other CETs here, namely the Institute of Technical Education and University of Nevada Las Vegas Singapore Centre for Hospitality Excellence.

Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, who was at the academy's opening, said the demand for culinary skills is growing, and the F&B scene here is now vibrant, with Michelin-starred chefs Daniel Boulud and Tetsuya Wakuda opening restaurants here.

Despite uncertainties in the global economic outlook, hiring sentiments in F&B remain positive, he added.

The industry now employs more than 150,000 people.

Urging F&B employers to invest in training their workers, Mr Tan held up sushi chain Sakae Holdings and the TungLok group of restaurants as shining examples of pro-training employers.

Chef Yong Bing Ngen said he is glad that those sent for training at At-Sunrice will be schooled in a broad curriculum.

The chef-owner of the two Chinese restaurants Majestic and Jing has been working with the academy and offering internships to its students.

Said chef Yong, who had no formalised culinary education: 'I learnt about wine pairing only 10 years after becoming a chef.'

staceyc@sph.com.sg

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