Issue 01 - The Opening Issue
First Training Institute in Singapore Dedicated to Asian Cuisine
Sous-Vide, Cook & Chill, Induction Wok Cooking – these are some cooking methods not traditionally associated with Asian cuisine. However, they have been introduced in courses by Singapore’s first culinary training institute dedicated to Asian cuisine – Asian Culinary Institute Singapore (ACI).
ACI aims to train and upgrade the skills of food and beverage (F&B) employees, while preserving the traditions of Asian cuisine. This morning marked the official opening of ACI, a joint collaboration between Nanyang Polytechnic and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA). The Official Opening of the Institute was witnessed by Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Trade and Industry. Ms Low was joined by Mr Kenji Shinoda, Ambassador of Japan to Singapore, Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, WDA, and Ms Jeanne Liew, Principal & CEO, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). The Institute also unveiled its Distinguished Chefs Advisory Panel comprising renowned global and local stalwarts like Chefs Violet Oon, Christophe Megal, Eric Neo, and Frédéric Deshayes.
According to the Economic Survey of Singapore 2015 1 , sectors with higher productivity growth tend to experience higher real wage growth. However, from year 2010 to 2015, the F&B sector, which employs about 160,000 workers in some 6,000 F&B establishments, saw a drop in productivity of 0.4%. To continue to attract and retain more workers to meet the needs of the 60% of Singaporeans who eat out at least four times a week 2 , ACI plans to improve the career prospects and retention of cooks through skills upgrading. ACI, the first training Anchor Provider for the F&B sector appointed by the WDA, also hopes to increase productivity for the industry by improving sectoral practices through consultancy and applied research and development projects. These include manpower optimisation and productivity improvement.
Attracting new talents to the F&B sector
To ensure a continuous pool of talent for the F&B industry, ACI launched the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme for the sector last year. Fresh graduates from the relevant Polytechnics and ITE courses can embark on a 15-month programme involving structured on-the- job training, productivity improvement projects and facilitated learning. Graduates who complete the programme can expect accelerated career advancement in F&B management or as culinary chefs.
Encouraging skills upgrading and knowledge exchange
To preserve the traditions of Asia cuisine, ACI has also collaborated with 11 hospitality and F&B organisations including Pan Pacific Hotel, Neo Group, and Kay Lee Pte Ltd (please see Annex for full list). These collaborations will see a five-year commitment between ACI and the respective organisations in sponsored training for new and existing employees, provision of enhanced internship and mentorship programmes, and masterclasses. In addition, ACI has also inked two MOUs with the Restaurant Association of Singapore and the Indian Restaurant Association of Singapore to collaborate in talent attraction, upskilling and productivity improvements in the sector. Aspiring and existing chefs can also hone their craft at ACI, which currently offers eight full qualification courses, ranging from the Certificate to the Specialist Diploma in Culinary Arts, or Asian Pastry & Bakery. There are also short courses on Food Safety and Hygiene, and Masterclasses for existing chefs in the industry. In support of the Government’s SkillsFuture Credit initiative, ACI has also launched 1-day courses such as in making Salted Egg Donuts, Lavender Citrus Cupcakes, Tom Yam Pie and Taro Tart. Singaporeans can leverage on their SkillsFuture Credit to enrol in these courses.
“Given our reputation as one of Asia-Pacific’s gourmet capitals, it is crucial we adopt measures to attract, develop and retain talent within the industry.”
Meeting the demand for Japanese cuisine
With Singaporeans’ continued interest in Japanese cuisine, ACI and the Japan Food Town Development entered an MOU to develop the Japanese Cuisine curriculum, enabling local chefs to undergo a train-the- trainer programme under the tutelage of a Master Chef from Japan. The Japanese cuisine programme will be available by the end of this year.
“Singapore is well-known for its food culture within Asia Pacific and we want to continue to uphold this reputation, and take it to the next level.
By ensuring that our F&B workforce keeps up with evolving food trends and demands of the industry, it is paramount that we equip our employees in the F&B sector with new culinary skills and the latest cooking techniques to enable them to be more innovative and creative at their jobs. At the same time, we aim to work closely with the F&B companies to help raise their productivity and transform the sector” said Mr Tan Jek Min, Director of the Asian Culinary Institute.
About Asian Culinary Institute of Singapore
The Asian Culinary Institute Singapore is a joint collaboration between the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). ACI is appointed by WDA as the Anchor Provider for the Food Services sector. ACI is also the Programme Manager for the SkillsFuture Earn & Learn programme for the F&B sector. ACI aims to build a pipeline of local chefs for Asian cuisines, strengthen continual professional development for existing F&B workers and facilitate innovation and productivity enhancement through applied R&D.
About Nanyang Polytechnic
Established in 1992, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) is a premier tertiary institution that offers quality education in Engineering, Information Technology, Design, Interactive & Digital Media, Chemical & Life Sciences, Business Management and Health Sciences. It offers 50 full-time diploma courses and a suite of post-diploma and customised courses for continuing education.
The Polytechnic’s industry-relevant and real world-based training equips students to become employment-ready upon graduation. It aims to nurture students into innovative and enterprising individuals, capable of succeeding in any path they choose to take, be it a career or in further studies.
Nanyang Polytechnic is also the proud recipient of the prestigious Singapore Quality Award, the Innovation Excellence Award and the People Excellence Award. This makes NYP the first education institution in Singapore to receive these three top organisational and business excellence awards.