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.