Ten culinary students recently came back to the Philippines after a successful three-month hands-on training at the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in d’Asti Italy.
Accompanied by faculty chef Jester Arellano, selected culinary students from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management, had a chance to demonstrate commitment, curiosity, adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to work with a team of experts in a professional kitchen.
The ICIF is an Italian cuisine school founded in 1991 to enhance the image of the country’s cuisine and products among professionals who work in restaurants abroad.
The Filipino students opted for the Short Course in Italian Cuisine and Oenology composed of lectures, laboratory discussions, and theoretical and practical lessons on the excellence of fresh ingredients, filled, dried pasta and its sauces, plus the different types of pizzas.
It included training on the traditional and modern menu preparation of freshwater and saltwater fish. They also had demonstration lessons including preparation of basic breads, pastry, and confectionary art, as well as Italian style creams, cake design, and manual chocolate tempering methods.
To supplement the trip, the students visited the Grana Padano Cheese Factory in the commune of Piacenza in the Emilia-Romagna Region, where they saw the whole process of cheese-making.
The apprentices likewise spent some time at the Banfi Winery in the province of Strevi, within the Piedmont region, where they studied the different types of wine.
During the following months, they served as interns at the Da O Vittorio, a hotel with a restaurant that offers Ligurian cuisine, popular for the flavors of fresh produce, pasta, and their signature selection of dishes.
Jenssen Ferrer, a culinary student from SHRIM, shared what he learned during the internship: “It was a sharp learning curve and you should be mentally prepared for plenty of hard work and challenging tasks. Long hours and the toughest jobs tested not just my skills but my resilience, too.”
Meanwhile, fellow SHRIM undergrad Ruzha Go said, “I’ve noticed during my practicum that the chefs I’ve worked with did not taste their food. When I was doing my in-house practicum at Vatel Restaurant, Chef Pierre Cornelis reminded us to always taste the dishes so we can adjust accordingly. Maybe it’s because they’ve worked there long enough and they’re relying on their visual and muscle memory to season the dishes. It’s quite amazing, to be honest.”
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