Gastronomic masteryApril 18, 2013 | Editor's Desk
UCSI University is carving another niche for itself with its new option to specialise in Korean cuisine.
IF cultural popularity could be likened to fashion, the South Korean wave – better known as Hallyu – would be the new black by some distance.
Personified by Psy’s gyrating dance routines and reinforced by emotional rollercoaster television dramas, Hallyu has taken the world by storm.
While glitz and glam hog the limelight, Hallyu actually arrived in Malaysia through a rather inconspicuous medium – food.
Originally established to serve the South Korean diaspora in Malaysia – now over 20,000-strong – Korean restaurants have come good on their latent appeal by bringing in local aficionados in droves.
This, in turn, has created a great demand for qualified Malaysian chefs.
Addressing the need, UCSI University is giving students the opportunity to specialise in Korean cuisine at its Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Currently offered to students of UCSI’s Culinary Arts and Hotel Management diploma programmes, the option complements the extensive range of cuisines one may specialise in.
The real deal
Like the other options, UCSI’s Korean focus is anchored on industrial relevance and career opportunity – traditional hallmarks of all UCSI programmes.
To offer a game-changing experience, authenticity is of paramount importance and UCSI made it a point to partner with the biggest names in the business.
First up is Daorae Korean BBQ Restaurant – the leading Korean restaurant chain in Malaysia – that was voted as one of Asia’s top 300 restaurants in the 2009 Miele Guide.
Under the memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed with the University, Daorae guarantees paid internships for UCSI students. The restaurant chain also reserves first option in hiring UCSI graduates.
With 13 restaurants nationwide and counting, Daorae has set the gold standard in Korean dining and UCSI students will enjoy the ideal proving ground to hone their craft.
Industrial placements will see students working with – and learning from – some of the best Korean branch restaurant managers in the business, giving them a profound idea of how a restaurant functions and the underlying assumptions that make them work.
It must be noted that Daorae has recently expanded its demographic reach by launching its first pork-free restaurant in Mont Kiara.
Halal Korean restaurants are also increasing in number and UCSI’s modules will be streamlined accordingly to ensure no interested learner misses out.
On the academic front, UCSI is collaborating with Woosong University – a dynamic South Korean varsity – in the area of teaching and learning.
Both universities will jointly develop special elective modules in Korean cuisine and efforts are being made to bring in an experienced Korean chef to prepare students for their big break.
Staff and student exchange programmes are also in the pipeline and Korean language classes are available at UCSI in this eventuality.
A future secured
The tripartite agreement essentially exemplifies the trust UCSI inspires.
The University boasts an exemplary graduate employability record and this was further emphasised by Daorae chain director Steven Choo during the MoA signing.
“This tie-up with UCSI will greatly reduce the dilemma faced by Korean restaurants that need qualified local chefs,” he said.
Like the option to specialise in Korean cuisine, UCSI students will enjoy similar opportunities if they opt for other specialisations, say, in Western or Asian cuisine.
A batch of UCSI students are currently undergoing internship at Kampachi by Equatorial – a popular Japanese restaurant – at Pavilion and more strategic tie-ups are being sought to enhance the student experience.
With such avenues to showcase their talent, students can only rise to the occasion and doors will open for them wherever they go.
To find out more about UCSI University’s Culinary Arts and Hotel Management diploma programmes, visit us on our upcoming Open Days on 20 and 21 April 2013 (9am – 6pm). You may also contact us at 03-91018882 or email www.ucsiuniversity.edu.my/onlineenquiry.