SINGAPORE - Final-year Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) student Chaw Kian Hui may still be pursuing a diploma in food and beverage business. But unlike most of his peers, he is already one step closer to his dream of becoming a chef.
The 19-year-old already has a job offer from internationally renowned Belgian chef Emmanuel Stroobant. The chef-owner of local restaurant Saint Pierre was at the polytechnic last month as part of the school's Celebrity Chef series.
In this series, established chefs such as Mr Stroobant helm the polytechnic's training restaurant L'Rez for one day. They work together with the students to serve a four-course lunch to about 100 guests.
"It was a bit of a shock," said Kian Hui of his job offer. "But it's my dream come true. My future path is laid out."
Mr Stroobant was full of praise for his future apprentice: "He's knowledgeable and has a really good attitude - that's one of the most important ingredients for a chef.
"When I see young guys like him, I like to take them personally under my wing."
Since July this year, about 50 students in the food and beverage business diploma course have had the rare opportunity to work with veteran chefs Stroobant, Violet Oon, Michael di Placido and Eric Teo.
"There are lots of tricks they can learn, like which direction the fish should face, or what to add to the avocadoes so they don't oxidise," said Mr Teo. "These seem like small things but it's important to set high standards."
The students lap it all up. "I'm just starstruck," said Sow Min Yee, 19. "It's crazy that we get to meet them and do a lot of different dishes and cuisines, from Belgian to Peranakan food."
"It's good exposure for them," said Mr Teo. "I wish I had someone come in and show me the ropes when I was a student."
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