KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is set to be a hub for Chinese cuisine with the establishment of the renowned Shun Fung Culinary School. The move is historic as this is the first time a culinary school of such calibre will be based outside China.
The move to establish Shun Fung was paved by a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between UCSI University (UCSI) and Shunde Polytechnic (SDPT) – one of China’s foremost polytechnics – that serves as Shun Fung’s education arm in the field of culinary art.
It is anticipated that this partnership will attract foreign students who are interested in Chinese and Oriental cuisine. Unlike studying in mainland China, the language barrier will pose no issue at UCSI University as classes will be conducted in English. Interpreters will also be provided for visiting master chefs from the Shun Fung Group and nothing will be lost in translation.
The MoA signing ceremony was witnessed by a number of dignitaries from China. Among them was Liang Huiying – the leader of Shunde – who hailed the signing as a significant milestone.
“The collaboration is significant as both institutions have strong academic standing and the mutual interest to establish Shun Fung is a perfect opportunity to promote Chinese cuisine to the world,” she said. “We are very happy to partner with UCSI, a university with a long history of excellence.
“The partnership also marks a breakthrough for in the area of international education. We are now taking on an international outlook in the areas of dining quality and skilled professionalism to become a first-class, internationally renowned vocational school. Our partnership with UCSI will help in this regard.”
Also present was SDPT president Prof Dr Xia Wei who said that the MoA was timely as the rising numbers of Chinese tourists to Malaysia – numbering around 1.2mil last year – would only increase the demand for Chinese master chefs; a demand that would be met by the establishment of the Shun Fung culinary school.
The MoA also saw the establishment of the Sino-Malaysia International Exchange and Transfer System in Chinese culinary art. With the exchange system in place, teaching staff, researchers, management personnel and students from both institutions would enjoy increased academic mobility.
The collaboration received another seal of approval as the Chinese Culinary Association (CCA) agreed to recognise UCSI’s culinary art graduates as Chinese master chefs, qualifying them for advanced positions upon graduation. Graduates would now receive a certificate from the CCA.
The Shun Fung tie-up passes as a strong draw for UCSI’s work-based learning diploma in Culinary Art – a two-year course that will be used as a benchmark for other private providers under who are part of the Malaysian Centre of Tourism and Hospitality Education (MyCenTHE), a Government-backed initiative to reshape the domestic tourism and hospitality industry.
By spearheading MyCenTHE, UCSI is leading the effort to create better prospects for industry personnel and it is expected that MyCenTHE will graduate 50,000 skilled personnel – with the minimum academic qualification of a diploma – per annum by 2020.
Renowned the world over, the Shun Fung Group is one of only three fine dining groups that are publicly listed on China’s stock exchange. The Group’s forte is in Guangdong cuisine – better known as Cantonese cuisine in Malaysia – and it has won numerous culinary and tourism awards over the years. Shun Fung has already established a foothold in Australia by opening a restaurant in Perth.
As one of the foremost polytechnics in China, the SDPT boasts more than 120,000 students. It has emphasised the advancement of hospitality management, food and beverage management, culinary art and nutrition, among other disciplines, over the years. Its track record is second to none and SDPT teachers and students have played a pivotal role in hosting and catering services at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Shanghai World Expo and the Guangzhou Asian Games, among others.
UCSI Group chairman Dato’ Peter Ng and UCSI University deputy vice-chancellor (Academic Affairs and Research) Prof. Emeritus Dr. Lim Koon Ong were also present for the MoA signing ceremony – StudyMalaysia.com