SINGAPORE - Before he graduated in 2013, Mr Shah Indra Jasni applied for an internship at La Pyramide, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Vienne, France.
The four-month stint was part of Mr Indra's final-year internship requirement for the Institute of Technical Education's (ITE) Technical Diploma in culinary arts programme.
Said Mr Indra, who is now 28: "It was difficult to be there alone. I could speak a little French, enough to do my job and move around but it was tough to adjust to the restaurant and environment there.
"It was different from school, back home."
But the experience taught him a great deal.
In 2017, Mr Indra started Burgs by Project Warung with two friends selling halal burgers at Golden Mile.
The business has expanded to four outlets, although they have closed the original Golden Mile stall.
Last month, he opened a new stall called Birdhaus by Project Warung, selling fried chicken. Daily sales across his different stalls have hit about four figures per outlet, he said.
Mr Indra was among the first to be enrolled in the technical diploma programme, which started in 2011, and it has since produced a number of chefs and business owners.
Mr Indra, who was one of four students in his batch to be offered an internship posting in France, chose La Pyramide because it provided free lodging and meals.
He secured the place with the help of a chef in Saint Pierre restaurant in Singapore, where he had previously interned during his time in the Nitec in Western culinary arts course.
Students in the ITE technical diploma programme take French language lessons and learn about French history and culture. They also study restaurant management and accounting, among other things.
Said Mr Indra: "What I'm doing now (running my own hawker stall) is very different from what I learnt in school or in my intern days.
"But my time in ITE helped me learn to manage my time, tackle problems and be forward-thinking - these were skills that our lecturers tried to impart to us."
He added that he is in talks to open a flagship cafe or restaurant, which is his dream.