A REAL FEAST IN SINGAPORE WITH AT-SUNRICE
June 24 – 26 saw the TalentMatch in Singapore, where At-Sunrice, the famous Global Chef Academy, had major hotel franchises, resorts, catering companies, restaurants and specialty delicatessens contracting their interns and graduates. Great resort hotels like The Palm in Dubai were there; Sentosa Resort’s Executive Chef, Kenny Yao was actively recruiting – and particularly likes student chefs from the Philippines; Mark Laming, the Executive Chef (Catering) for the famed Singapore Airlines Airport Terminal Services was there; the Conrad, the Ritz-Carlton, the Fullerton, Disney Cruise Lines and many, many others, were all at the TalentMatch, eager to take on At-Sunrice’s graduating chefs and apprentices.
At-Sunrice flew Inter-Ed’s President, Roger Bartholomew, the Ateneo’s Career Placement Officer, Florence Ladion, and Head of Southville Foreign University’s HRM Dept., Carol Pido to Singapore to attend their Graduation Ceremony and to observe the TalentMatch. The experience was top end all the way. Philippine Airlines very graciously moved us nearer to the front of the plane where the seats are bigger on both legs of the journey, and At-Sunrice accommodated us in Suites in the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Hotel. And then the work started…….
Firstly, At-Sunrice asked us how we were telling budding chefs in the Philippines about the tremendous opportunities of the study/work programs in Singapore and if Philippine students at the Ateneo, SFU and other universities knew that they got paid a monthly salary right throughout their chef studies. And then they wanted to know how we were communicating the news about the great jobs that the graduates from the Philippines were landing all over the world – Australia, USA, Singapore and, of course, the Philippines.
Before that however, came the Graduation Ceremony. This was really nicely done with top chefs from the industry being recognized for the job they had done in mentoring the graduates. Particularly strong applause came for the excellent Executive Chef from the Restaurant St. Julien at the Waterboat House, Fullerton Hotel, and for the chef from the Wine Garage – obviously a very popular spot for all the student chefs. MC was Richard Que, an NUS MBA student from the Philippines, who used to work At-Sunrice. He did a remarkable job carefully pronouncing the Chinese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Malaysian, Thai, Indian, American, Singaporean, European and, of course, Filipino surnames of the graduates. The pride of accomplishment was very obvious from all of the students. But, the amazing thing was that all of them were contracted for full-time jobs before the day was over and many had up to three job offers. Good food is obviously in great demand the world over, and these chefs are taught both Eastern & Western cuisine and so can work anywhere. For every hour that they study in school, they have three hours of practical work apprenticeship in the top hotels and restaurants in Singapore – and it shows. Confidence, competence, capability and craftsmanship distinguish these young men and women from the rest!
No mention of At-Sunrice can be complete without mentioning their industry partners who apprentice and mentor their chefs. The attitude of the Executive Chefs from the very best hotels and restaurants to the apprentice chefs from At-Sunrice was exemplary, and the amount of time spent with them in the workplace to up-skill them to meet the everyday needs of a demanding public was extra-ordinary. Chef Christophe Megel, CEO of At-Sunrice probably best summarized this attitude when he commented that his personal apprenticeship had comprised six years of workplace learning where “there was zero tolerance for mediocrity”. This phrase sums up the philosophy of At-Sunrice and their entire approach to equipping apprentice chefs for cuisine and baking/pastry.
At-Sunrice has 15 month programs in Cuisine and in Baking for any student passionate about creating great food. The first three months are spent in school learning the critical basics, and then students spend two days a week in school and four days a week in industry for the rest of the 12 months and receive an apprentice salary of SGD$600.00/month. Half of the year is spent learning Eastern Cuisine and half Western Cuisine. Baking students take on a variety of areas such as Bread, Pastries, Desserts and Eastern/Western specialty foods. After this students may move on to additional and higher level studies such as the Advanced Culinary Placement Diploma (ACP). The ACP has six rotations of one month in school followed by three months in industry with students receiving an apprenticeship of SGD$750.00/month. Again, this is preceded by three months in school where are the critical basics are taught. The ACP is aimed at students of 20 years and above with some industry experience or a related college background.
Finally, I cannot sign off on this article without mentioning the actual premises where At-Sunrice teaches its students or the guided tour of the kitchens of the Fullerton Hotel. The school was stunning for its beautiful location and premises, the equipment that its students learn on, and the excellent team of chefs who teach and mentor them; truly the latest and the best. The Fullerton was stunning in that 100 chefs and cooks turn out the most amazing food every day from kitchens that are 110% utilized and constantly work at full capacity 24/7/365. Going round both was a tremendous experience and a great privilege.
If after reading this you cannot wait to become a chef and attend At-Sunrice, first read the articles I have posted (click on “Download document” – top right of article) for cuttings from newspapers about the life of a chef and then call or text me on 0918-912-5191 and tell me “I want to be a chef”. Our office will do the rest ……..