Join the Culinary Star Quest
Finding a career in the food and beverage industry
He signed up for a course at the Asian Culinary Institute (ACI) to learn how to cook healthier meals, but he is now considering a career in the food and beverage (F&B) industry.
Mr Luah Boon Kiat, 29, an administrative assistant, said: "Learning Asian cooking taught me how to appreciate our heritage. I was inspired by the instructors, who are professional chefs.
"The course was comprehensive, and it covered different aspects of the F&B business, such as managing inventory and kitchen operations."
He shares a recipe for mapo tofu from chef Lawrence Toon, an instructor at the ACI.
Mr Luah said: "Chef Lawrence taught us the professional skills that go into the dish, such as the correct ways of using the knife and handling food."
The ACI is a joint collaboration between SkillsFuture Singapore, previously known as the Workforce Development Agency, and Nanyang Polytechnic.
Mr Luah has obtained the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Certificate, Higher Certificate and Advanced Certificate in culinary arts.
He also took up a three-month F&B internship as part of the Advanced Certificate course.
Mr Tan Jek Min, director of the ACI, said: "Our certified courses are recognised by the industry.
"Our students are trained to keep up with the latest innovations and technology in the culinary field."
Come July 8, the ACI will hold its inaugural Culinary Star Quest, a cooking competition that aims to identify those with a culinary passion and who are keen to join the F&B industry.
There is more in store other than the top three prizes, which are worth more than $4,000 in all. (See report above.)
The participants will be invited to join the Place and Train Programme (PnT) and offered employment opportunities with F&B companies, including The Lo & Behold Group, PastaMania, Elsie's Kitchen, Creative Eateries and Select Group.
Those who take up the offers will get sponsored to attend a series of courses at the ACI to obtain industry-recognised WSQ certificates and a diploma in culinary arts.
The course fees are worth $5,785.80, based on government-subsidised rates.
The skills-based training is supplemented with on-the-job training.
Participants who enter the PnT will be mentored by celebrity chef Eric Teo, who is the lead judge for the competition.
Mr Tan said: "If you have no prior experience in F&B but want to join the industry, this competition is your chance at starting a new career path with professional training and mentorship."
Recipe by chef Lawrence Toon from ACI
INGREDIENTS (SERVES TWO)
- 1 litre water
- 300g tofu (soft bean curd), cut into 1cm cubes
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 20g minced ginger
- 20g minced garlic
- 30g Sichuan chillies, finely ground
- 5g Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 200g minced beef (can be substituted with minced pork or minced chicken meat)
- 2 tbsp preserved soy bean paste
- 2 tbsp spicy bean paste
- 15ml chicken stock
- 20g diced red chillies
- Pinch of white pepper
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- Pinch of white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tsp potato starch mixed with 20ml water
- 5g spring onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp chilli oil
- 5g fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
1. Bring 1 litre of water to a boil and blanch the tofu. Drain off excess water and set the tofu aside.
2. Heat the wok over medium heat and add the vegetable oil.
3. Stir fry the ginger and garlic over medium heat for 2 minutes.
4. Add in the Sichuan chillies and Sichuan peppercorns and fry until fragrant.
5. Add in the minced beef and continue frying until the moisture dries up.
6. Add in the preserved soy bean paste and spicy bean paste.
7. Add in chicken stock and continue to cook until the stock is slightly reduced.
8. Add in the blanched tofu and diced red chillies.
9. Season with the white pepper, light soy sauce, sugar and salt.
10. Add in the potato starch mixture to thicken the gravy. Stir-fry until the gravy comes to a simmering boil.
11. Add in sliced spring onion and mix well.
12. Turn off the heat and transfer tofu mixture into a serving dish.
13. Drizzle chilli oil and garnish with fresh coriander.
Are you the next culinary star?
Join the Culinary Star Quest organised by ACI and you could be on your way to a new career in the F&B industry. Registration closes on June 30. To sign up, go to www.aci.edu.sg/culinary-star-questcompetition- 2017. For more information, see the advertisement below.
- First prize: Airfare and accommodation worth $1,500 for a trip to Tokyo for a sushi-making workshop and dining experience featuring Kinmemai rice, as well as shopping and dining vouchers worth $1,400 from FairPrice, The Lo & Behold Group, Texas Chicken, JW Marriott, PastaMania and Creative Eateries.
- Second prize: Anova sous vide appliance worth $289, and $800 worth of shopping and dining vouchers.
- Third prize: Afternoon tea for two worth $115 at the Ritz-Carlton’s Chihuly Lounge, and $450 worth of shopping and dining vouchers.