"I followed my dream, my passion," is something that Chef Wan can say proudly nowadays as he traded a career in accountancy to being the most loved Malaysian celebrity chef with TV shows, demonstrations and books in line for his hungry crowd.
Following one's dreams definitely needs determination and guidance. Keeping that in mind, KDU College's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts unveiled their Junior Chef Academy to expose young and enthusiastic individuals from 16-19 years old to the fascinating world of culinary arts.
May 2006 marked the launch of academy in KDU College with guests ranging from industry professionals, partners and secondary school students. Officiating the launch was Malaysia's very own food ambassador and Asian Food Channel resident Chef Wan who enthralled the audiences with a delightful cooking presentation.
With this programme, young culinary fans have the opportunity to gain an insight into menu planning, basic baking and pastry, hot cooking, food presentation and other culinary modules.
Miss Kitty Lee, Head of School for KDU College's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts said in her opening speech, "The Junior Chef Academy is the brainchild of our chef lecturers. With feedback from the industry, the master chefs of KDU College got together, analysing the future of the industry and finding a solution to ensure a constant supply of skilled manpower channelling into this very specialised trade. The ideas and plans brought forward is now a reality with the creation of the KDU College Junior Chef Academy."
The idea of the academy is to have students experience the duties and the life of a chef in the industry. Students will gain a winning edge for a career in the industry under the guidance of KDU College's very own, up-and-coming celebrity chef, Zamzani Abdul Wahab (better known as Chef Zam) who aims to develop and nurture a culinary interest among the young enthusiasts.
Participants may also choose the classes they join within the 15-week duration of the academy's programme. Upon completing the 15-week program, the young graduates will be presented with a certificate acknowledging they are graduates of KDU College's Junior Chef Academy.
During the launch, guests were entertained by the lively banter by Chef Wan who kept everyone glued to their seats with his laidback sense of humor and cooking anecdotes.
In between the light-heartedness and cooking demonstration, Chef Wan advised his audience to follow their dreams and to work hard towards it no matter what. in line with the spirit of the Junior Chef Academy, Chef Wan also stressed on the importance of the sharing and passing-on of knowledge to the younger generation as knowledge unshared is knowledge rendered useless.
After the audiences were treated to his cooking, Chef Wan also autographed his latest cookbook called 'Around the World' which was snapped up like hotcakes by the young and older audiences alike.
With more and more upcoming celebrity chefs breathing fresh air into the world of culinary, young enthusiasts still have a long way to go before establishing their names like the glamorous TV chefs Jamie Oliver and Emeril Lagasse.
Apart from the Junior Chef Academy, KDU College's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts also offers undergraduate programmes in hotel, tourism and catering management as well as culinary diplomas. KDU students also undergo practical training in KDU College facilities; Connexions, Windows of Damansara and Cafe 87, which are operated by the Hotel, Tourism and Culinary Arts students and supervised by their respective lecturers.
The KDU College JANUARY intake is now open for enrolment. For more information on the programmes and activities happening in KDU College PJ, call 03-7728 8123 or log on to our official website at www.kdu.edu.my or www.kdupg.edu.my for the Penang campus.