Last week was the formal launching of Istituto Culinario, the Philippines’ newest, most innovative culinary institution. It is an offshoot of the country’s first specialized school for culinary arts, the O.B. Montessori College Culinary Institute which was established back in 1995. I got to tour Istituto Culinario that day and I am impressed with the facilities and their roster of Chef-instructors. They are:
- Program Head Chef Chris Bautista – a former Chairperson of Culinary Arts of Lyceum of the Philippines. He is a graduate of the Center for Culinary Arts, Manila and his career took him to the Mexican Embassy in Seoul, Korea where he became the personal chef to the ambassador. He is the managing partner of Jalapeno Cantina Mexicana in Ortigas.
- Chef Jerome Valencia – he trained under three British chefs in Australia and eventually became the Sous Chef of Uva restaurant in Greenbelt. He was part of the team that created the menu for Republiq and currently, he is a partner at Canteen which he co-owns with Chef Fern Aracama.
- Chef JA Ventura – he worked as an Executive Chef for the Red Crab Group of Restaurants and was the former Culinary Programs Director of Academy for International Culinary Arts. He currently works as an advisory chef consultant for San Miguel-Purefoods Corporation.
- Chef Ching Yoingco – is one of the most highly regarded Culinary Team coaches in the country, bringing home medals from international competitions in Hong Kong and Singapore.
- Chef JP Anglo – he studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney and is the Chef Patron of Bacolod’s famous Asian-Chinese restaurant Mushu. He was one of the chef judges at the recently concluded ABS-CBN reality cooking show Junior Master Chef.
- International Consultant Chef James Antolin – he began his career in the US where he gained experience at Patina on Melrose and the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, California. He is the former Academic Program Manager of the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) Manila and Institute of Culinary Arts and Food Service. He is currently the vice president of the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines and the competition director of major culinary competitions in the country such as the Philippines Culinary Cup.
- Primary Industry Partner Chef Cyrille Soenen – he began his career as an apprentice chef for Hotel Ritz, Paris. Locally, he gained popularity during his tenure at Hotel Intercontinental’s Prince Albert and his own Restaurant Cicou. He is the Chef Owner of Brasserie Cicou.
The institute at the heart of Greenhills Shopping Center features a vast library, 4 lecture rooms with complete A/V equipment, Demo Laboratory with state-of-the-art Rational Cooking Center and broadcast quality cameras, 4 world-class standard kitchen laboratories and a sous vide machine.
The students demoed to us what they learned that morning, spinach ravioli. It was really yummy!
Chef James Antolin greeted as at the Demo Lab and pointed out the features of the room. He proudly showcased the Rational Cooking Center which is so high-tech!
Istituto Culinario offers two long-term courses: Culinary Arts and Food Service Management (2-Year Diploma Program) and Bachelor of Science in Food Management, Major in Food Service (4-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program). The 2-year program provides students with key culinary techniques, essential kitchen skills, and a comprehensive introduction to the cuisines of the world. The course culminates with an intensive 1,000 hour apprenticeship in a professional restaurant/hotel kitchen. After this, the student has the option to continue to the Bachelor’s Degree Program or start their career. The laddered Bachelor of Science Program has been rigorously designed to provide all the important concepts and disciplines for a successful professional career in the international culinary industry. Key principles of entrepreneurial marketing are integrated into the program’s advanced food management studies.
Istituto also offers short courses from time to time. I want to take at least one but our kitchen at home doesn’t inspire me to cook.
After the short school tour, we had degustation at Brasserie Cicou. I’m not happy with the photos I took there but I absolutely loved the food. I’m coming back there tomorrow night to dine with some girl friends. Hopefully I’ll take better photos.
57 Annapolis St., Greenhills
San Juan, Metro Manila
Tel. nos. 7229720 locals 234/269 or direct line 7239064