Friday, June 28, 2019


A hundred orphans and stateless children from Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih was treated to a lunch feast, cooked by 40 chefs who participated in The League of Kitchens, Marriott International Asia-Pacific’s 3-day immersive culinary workshop in Kuala Lumpur.

Hosted by Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur, the outdoor cooking session at Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) saw the participating chefs from different Marriott properties in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and The Maldives joining forces with 12 top culinary students from Taylor’s University School of Culinary Arts & Food Studies, Sunway’s Le Cordon Bleu Institute Malaysia, and KDU University College.


Divided into six teams, they prepared Satay, Ulam Kerabu, Butter Chicken, Vegetable Dalcha, Grilled Fish and Squid, Chinese Style Fried Vegetables, Stir-fried Noodles, Steamed Ghee Rice, Malay Kuih, Roti Jala with Durian Porridge, and Sweet Banana Porridge for their coterie of young guests.

According to Toine Hoeksel, Senior Culinary Director of APAC (pix above, left), this year’s League of Kitchens is the 5th edition of the annual Marriott International APAC’s Culinary Workshop. “It’s aimed at providing a high level and immersive experiential training to the participants. The 3-day sessions covered discussions on F&B industry innovations and trends, and fun culinary cook-offs to encourage interactive learning. It's also an avenue to network among fellow chefs and peers in a setting where they can inspire and be inspired.”

In today’s challenging environment where attracting and retaining young talents is paramount, Toine said “With rapid expansion in China and across the globe, Marriott International is constantly seeking to attract new culinary talents into the fold. We work closely with culinary schools and universities by offering internships and industry collaborations. For instance, several local culinary institutions were invited to send their top students to join us for the League of Kitchens. The certificate of recognition they received upon completion of the workshop will serve as good leverage when the students seek employment opportunities with any Marriott property in the future.”

He said a holistic approach is necessary to draw young talents into the hotel industry. "It's challenging to attract new, young talents but it can be done once we can convince them on the long-term career prospects and the roadmap to chart their personal growth and development. We need to be hands-on and fully engaged with them; they need to be nurtured, mentored and guided on their career paths. 

“It’s important to constantly listen and communicate with them, to check on their well-being and different aspects of their life. We want to cultivate a long term relationship which makes them aware options are aplenty within the Marriott group; what direction they wish to pursue, where they want to be located or the type of property they want to work in.”

For those already working with Marriott, Toine said initiatives such as The League of Kitchens also enable participating chefs from different countries and properties to take home new insights and experiences, to help them further enhance and elevate guests’ dining experiences. “The workshops touch on traditional cooking techniques, food quality, involvement of local suppliers, wedding trends and the scope of collective growth towards newer and higher standards of service.”

Also doing their bit for the Marriott International’s Spirit To Serve CSR cook-out were Raheel Ahmed, Regional Culinary Director of APAC, Marriott International, Nicolas Kassab, Area Director of Operations, Singapore, Malaysia and Maldives.


Monday, June 24, 2019


To herald the launch of Sony’s Reel Society, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and Sony Pictures Entertainment will be screening five specially curated movies, starting this June up to January 2020 at the GSC International Screens.
Local movie buffs who yearn for ‘thinking man’ flicks will be overjoyed to know they can catch the first movie “Best of Enemies” starting 20 June. Yours truly was grateful for the opportunity to catch it first-hand and came away thoroughly gratified.
Directed by Robin Bisell, “Best of Enemies” touched on the unlikely friendship between a black civil rights activist and the head of the Ku Klux Klan in Durham, North Carolina in the USA. Talented actress Taraji P Henson shone like a beacon in this film, reprising feisty Ann Atwater while Sam Rockwell appeared as C.P. Ellis.

Their opposing views and belligerent attitude towards each other and the communities they represent came to head one summer. However, both were unwittingly force to collaborate and subsequent circumstances arising from the communal exercise also changed their lives in the process.
Koh Mei Lee, CEO of GSC said “the GSC and Sony Pictures Entertainment partnership in launching Sony’s Reel Society aims to provide enriching cinematic experiences through technology and content for local audiences.”

She said Malaysian audiences do enjoy smart, well-written stories that are emotionally moving with universal human values. “This partnership will open a window to more engaging, heartwarming and powerful stories for film-goers. We welcome more distributors and partners to work with us in bringing such quality content to movie audiences.”

Echoing similar sentiments is Simon Foo, MD of Sony Pictures Entertainment Malaysia. “Sony Pictures Entertainment has always had a diverse genre of quality films and we try our best to make films to cater to different audiences. Through our exclusive collaboration with GSC, Sony’s Reel Society will be an avenue for discerning movie enthusiasts to catch speciality silver screen productions.”

Keep an eye out for these movie screenings: 
Late Night 1 August 1 
Ode To Joy 19 September
The Sound of Silence 3 October
A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood 20 January 2020

Sony’s Reel Society will be available exclusively at GSC Pavilion KL, GSC Mid Valley Megamall, GSC 1 Utama, GSC Gurney Plaza, Penang and GSC Paradigm JB. Follow GSCinemas on FB, Twitter or Instagram or visit

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