COOKING is an art that transcends cultural boundaries - a delightful fusion of flavours and techniques that tantalise the senses.
To master the culinary craft is to first discover the best culinary school.
Taylor’s Culinary Institute (TCI) aims to provide culinary excellence through the fostering of innovation and global exploration among aspiring chefs.
With a legacy spanning over 30 years, TCI’s alumni include executive Michelin-star chefs and culinary leaders who have made their mark globally.
Recent success stories, such as Chef Kevin Wong’s Michelin triumph, reinforce the institute’s commitment to nurturing culinary talents who will continue to set new industry standards.
The guiding light of TCI is director chef Frederic Raymond Paul Cerchi, who boasts over 25 years of culinary expertise honed across diverse global landscapes.
His journey began in Rocamadour, France, leading to stints in prestigious five-star hotels and Michelin-starred establishments alongside culinary luminaries.
He expanded his horizons in the UK, Scotland, Malaysia, and Spain, mastering both culinary craft and front-of-house service.
Returning to Malaysia in 2006, he joined Taylor’s University as a lecturer, imparting his extensive knowledge and unwavering passion for culinary excellence.
Cerchi’s remarkable journey epitomises his commitment to nurturing future culinary innovators.
The TCI advantage
Aspiring chefs have countless options when it comes to culinary education; TCI sets itself apart through three key strengths that define this culinary institute.
> The curriculum TCI offers an experiential education with a focus on social learning interaction.
“TCI’s curriculum prioritises practical, hands-on learning, ensuring that students graduate with not only theoretical knowledge but also exceptional culinary skills. Our programmes are designed to meet the dynamic demands of the industry, emphasising innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship,” Cerchi shares.
He explains: “TCI also provides a global curriculum designed to produce high-calibre graduates that are valued by the industry, while supporting continuous learning.
We have the utmost support from the industry via a comprehensive range of courses and workshops for upskilling purposes.”
For instance, the institute collaborates with partners like Taylor’s Urban Farm to bring the farm-to-fork concept to life and offers a range of courses, including Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) international certificates and a partnership with the University of Toulouse to refine culinary courses even further.
> International collaborations TCI’s network of world-class chefs and collaborations with renowned institutions like the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, ranked #1 by QS World University Ranking, is what sets it apart from the rest.
These collaborations have played a part in placing Taylor’s University at number 17 in the world for its hospitality and leisure management subjects in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.
“Students have the opportunity to learn world-class skills at prestigious restaurants in Europe, complete international placements with Michelin-starred restaurants, and participate in Masterclasses with Michelin-starred chefs,” Cerchi highlights.
> Facilities and state-of-the-art equipment To prepare students for the real world of hospitality, tourism, and the culinary industry, TCI features purpose-built culinary suites, a pastry kitchen, and a range of restaurants for proper front-of-house fine-dining and hospitality learning experiences.
The institute also offers a wine laboratory modeled after those found in vineyards and a R&D space for collaborative learning experiences.
Training under pressure
TCI employs a multifaceted approach to prepare its potential chefs for demanding environments.
From providing mentorship by seasoned instructors and participating in competitions, to exposing students to high-pressure real-world kitchens during internships, and a curriculum emphasising time management and stress-coping strategies, TCI ensures its students develop composure, efficiency, and the ability to excel under the most demanding circumstances.
This holistic approach aligns with Taylor’s Graduate Capabilities (TGC) and instills qualities such as adaptability and resilience in students, making them not just skilled chefs but also well-rounded professionals
Emerging culinary trends
The culinary world is ever-evolving, and TCI stays ahead of the curve by incorporating emerging trends into its curriculum.
Strong emphasis is given to plant-based cooking techniques and dishes, catering to the increasing demand for these options in today’s world.
The art of blending diverse culinary traditions and flavours is also explored, enabling students to create culturally rich dishes that appeal to modern palates.
Sustainability and ethical sourcing are also integral components, with a focus on responsible sourcing, reducing food waste, and adopting eco-friendly cooking methods.
Integration of technology in the culinary world is on the rise, and TCI introduces students to cutting-edge kitchen and restaurant technologies.
TCI’s commitment to staying abreast of culinary trends ensures that graduates are well-prepared to meet the demands of the job market while embracing innovation and sustainability.
Special menus for students
TCI curates special menus for its students to allow them to apply techniques and concepts in a controlled environment.
These menus cover a wide spectrum of culinary styles and cuisines, enabling students to explore various cooking traditions and flavours. Student-specific menus also facilitate the gathering of valuable feedback on taste, presentation, and overall satisfaction, contributing to continuous improvement on its culinary programmes.
“TCI also occasionally hosts events, celebrations, and themed dining experiences with menus tailored to suit the occasion, providing unique and memorable dining experiences for our students and guests,” Cerchi elaborates.
Optimising quality and taste
The focus at TCI is firmly on optimising ingredients for quality and tastiness.
“While cost-efficiency is a consideration, our overarching goal is to allow students to create masterpieces that delight the palate and elevate the dining experience through the use of exceptional ingredients that are locally sourced, sustainable and abundant in flavour, providing excellent value for money in the process,” he says.
Courses that stay relevant
TCI is committed to staying at the forefront of culinary education and continuously explores new courses and programmes in the culinary and related fields.
These courses align with industry trends such as specialised programmes in sustainable gastronomy, culinary technology and innovation, and food entrepreneurship to ensure students receive a comprehensive and forward-looking learning experience.
TCI final-year Bachelor in Culinary Management student and Taylor’s Young Chefs Community founder Jack Yap Zhen Jie shares his memorable journey in the culinary world.
Yap’s choice of TCI was driven by its prestigious culinary programmes, renowned faculty, cutting-edge facilities, and a robust alumni network.
He lauds the institute’s commitment to excellence, citing its impressive track record at national and international culinary competitions as a testament to its dedication to students’ growth.
Reflecting on his transformative experience at TCI, Yap credits the institute for not only equipping him with essential “technical skills” but also fostering a holistic approach to the culinary arts.
“I’ve had the privilege of working alongside passionate lecturers and fellow classmates who share my enthusiasm for culinary excellence.”
Yap founding the Young Chefs Community club stemmed from his desire to establish a platform for culinary enthusiasts to connect, inspire and foster knowledge-sharing.
It also aims to recognise the crucial role of entrepreneurship in the industry and seeks to bridge the gap between culinary expertise and business acumen.
“Ultimately, we aim to prepare our members for successful careers in the culinary industry, whether as chefs, restaurateurs or entrepreneurs,” says Yap, whose four-month internship at Maison Bras last year changed his perspective as a prospective chef.
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