Feature: Apprentices of gastronomy chase dream in Macao

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-20 16:48:57|Editor: Mengjie
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MACAO, May 20 (Xinhua) -- After more than three years of study and training in the Institute for Tourism Studies here, Wen Tingxuan feels he is now a step closer to his dream of opening a Michelin-starred restaurant back in the Chinese mainland.

"Thanks to almost four years in Macao, I now know how to pursue my dream in future," said Wen, a young man from Beijing, who has participated in the BA Culinary Arts Program of the Institute for Tourism Studies after graduation from a high school in Beijing.

Macao, a special administrative region of China where western cultures have been fused with local Chinese tradition, boasts over 30 five-star hotels, 68 restaurants recommended by Michelin Guide, plus diversified food styles from Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, among others.

"The program (the BA Culinary Arts Program) has an international faculty, and besides all the high level training I received here, I now can speak fluent Cantonese and English," he said.

Wen just finished his half-year internship in a kitchen of a local five-star hotel and he looks really like a chef now.

He has got used to the life here, getting along well with his classmates, exchanging jokes in local dialect, and from time to time going out to try well-known snacks sold in small stands.

"Macao is a part of China and it is very easy for me to get used to its local culture and tradition. In addition, I can find rich cultural elements from outside the Chinese society, such as Portuguese traditions and food, or yummy snacks from Southeast Asia, which give me inspiration on my culinary study," he said.

In his last year in the institute, Wen plans to apply for postgraduate program abroad, for the experience of study and internship in Macao have showed him a lager world to explore and pursue his dream.

"My dream is to open a Michelin-starred restaurant back home, but I know it is too early right now. Thanks to the four years in Macao, I now know how to pursue my dream in the future," Wen said.

Abdul Basit Qureshi, a Pakistani student, has been in the same program as Wen for almost one year. Unlike Wen, this young man had faced more challenges in his freshman year, such as food tradition, dress code, and especially the food material and ingredients in the class.

And thanks to the efforts of the teachers and classmates, he smoothly passed the period of "culture shock."

"They have provided me with Halal ingredients to cook and eat, which is an extraordinary help for me," he said.

Abdul has now also got used to his life in Macao, and his study is well recognized by his classmates. In a charity activity organized by culinary arts students, he was appointed as master of ceremony.

"My future plan is when I graduate from here, I would like to work in a Michelin-starred Halal restaurant," he added.

The Institute for Tourism Studies takes about 20 students every year in the BA Culinary Arts Program. In 2017, the institute was named in "QS World University Rankings by Subject" as second best higher education institution in Asia for hospitality and leisure management, and world's 18th best.

President of the institute Fanny Vong told Xinhua that the institute designed the courses for the program with best industry standards, proven lecturers and skilled craft technicians.

"Macao has a rich history and culture mixed with East and West. It also has many top-class hotels and restaurants for students to learn and practice," she said.

As Macao is striving to become a world tourism and leisure center, "I believe we can play an important role in tourism industry development in Macao and Pear River Delta region," she added.