A culinary success

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By Robert Harland

What’s Cooking?

Monday, May 19, 2014


WE CONTINUE to be bowled over by the phenomenal success of the Institute for Culinary Arts (ICA) at La Salle," said Br. Ray Suplido, president and chancellor of the University of St. La Salle.

Br. Ray explained that the University took something of a gamble in 2007 when it decided to launch the new school.

"Chef Richard Ynayan, ICA's director, made a strong case for bringing in only the best equipment. So, under his direction, we invested heavily and built two fully air-conditioned state-of-the-art kitchens designed after the kitchens of culinary institutions in New York and California. We have since added another kitchen as well as a complete demo theater.

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"I'm pleased we followed Chef Richard's advice. Our facilities are on a par, and perhaps in many respects, better than you'd find in culinary schools anywhere in the world. And our fees are much lower than Manila and a fraction of New York or London," he added.

Today, ICA is thriving with more and more Negrenses wishing to try their hands at cheffing.

Since its launch in January 2008, over a thousand students have successfully completed the 12-month course. Some are now working on cruise ships or in international hotels. Others have opened their own restaurants while a handful of students simply took the course for enjoyment and to increase their repertoire of dishes at home.

I was among the pioneer batch. In 2008 I signed up for the physically demanding course at the grand old age of 61. It was one of the most enjoyable things I've ever done. It was hard work, but very worthwhile.

And thanks to the high quality of the teaching, I joined the 2010 Negros Adobo Competition in Silay and, to my great surprise, I won. It seems I was the first foreigner to become the champion.

Founding chef and ICA director Richard Ynayan, who graduated with honors from the French Culinary Institute and the Institute for Culinary Education in New York and has been trained by French, Italian and American chefs, said the school's main aim is to train world-class chefs, industry professionals and creative entrepreneurs in culinary arts.

The course includes a study of the fundamentals of classic and contemporary cuisine with the integration of Philippine flavors and approaches - including Ilonggo cuisine - as well as hands-on training in fundamental techniques of the culinary arts.

In addition, ICA also offers short courses and a recreational classes program - e.g. Asian Cuisine, Cooking for Kids and Advanced Baking Classes.

Students also get exposure to a variety of workplaces such as world-class hotels, professional settings, cruise ships, resorts, restaurants, catering business and bakeshop management.

Students are under the direct supervision of Chef Richard and his highly-trained team of instructors. In addition, guest lecturers cover topics such as fine wines, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, Middle Eastern and Halal cuisine and baking.

On completion of the course, students undertake 300 hours of on-the-job training (OJT). ICA helps place students in hotels and restaurants in Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Hong Kong, Singapore and the US. After an OJT assignment in Malacañang, one ICA student ended up as a full-time employee cooking at the palace.

"I'm incredibly proud of our students," said Chef Richard.
"They've already notched up numerous awards such as first place in several Cinco de Noviembre Adobo Festivals. They all work amazingly hard and with such passion. I know that many of them will go onto great things in the world of fine dining."

Enrollment for Batch 14 and 15 is taking place now, and will start in June 2014 and January 2015, respectively. For further information, please call ICA at 434-6100 local 401 and look for Ms. Maricon Vinarta.*

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 19, 2014.

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