MDIS unveils studio for culinary-related courses

Michael di Placido (far left) from Stellar Restaurant and Nixon Low from Jiakpalang Eating House take part in a 30-minute cooking challenge as Gary Maclean (second from right) and Mr Willie McCurrach look on, at the opening of the MDIS baking and cul
Michael di Placido (far left) from Stellar Restaurant and Nixon Low from Jiakpalang Eating House take part in a 30-minute cooking challenge as Gary Maclean (second from right) and Mr Willie McCurrach look on, at the opening of the MDIS baking and culinary studio yesterday.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Aspiring chefs at the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) can now practise their knife skills and bake delicate pastries in a kitchen that is on a par with professional standards.

The school yesterday unveiled a new bakery and culinary studio as part of a move to introduce more practical, skills-based curricula for people keen to enter the hospitality as well as the food and beverage sector. The facilities cost $250,000.

New culinary-related courses will also be rolled out by September this year. They are jointly developed with the City of Glasgow College in Scotland, which is renowned for its focus on developing students' practical skills.

About 100 students a year will benefit from the new facilities and programmes, which are under the MDIS School of Tourism and Hospitality.

MDIS secretary-general R. Theyvendran said the move is in line with the institute's goal "to equip students with future-ready skill sets that are in demand by the economy".

After all, "the hospitality industry is absolutely in a boom", said Gary Maclean, who won BBC's MasterChef: The Professionals 2016, at the launch at MDIS yesterday. He is also a senior chef lecturer at City of Glasgow College.

Last year, the F&B industry contributed about $14.4 billion to Singapore's gross domestic product and employed nearly 300,000 people.

MDIS, a not-for-profit institute for lifelong learning, said that 10 per cent of its 500-odd tourism and hospitality students are keen to enter the F&B industry after they graduate.

At yesterday's launch, students got a preview of the lessons they can expect to receive. They were taught knife skills and how to do classic cuts by Maclean and Mr Willie McCurrach, City of Glasgow College's curriculum head for food.

The duo will be travelling to Singapore frequently to offer hands-on classes for students who enrol in the new culinary-related courses.

Ms Vivianna Gwee, 19, who is studying for her advanced diploma in tourism, hospitality and events management at MDIS, wants to open a bakery in the future.

"The new initiatives will allow students to get a feel of the professional kitchen environment and what the industry is like," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2017, with the headline 'MDIS unveils studio for culinary-related courses'. Print Edition | Subscribe