Dear graduate, so you want to be a chef or hotelier? Jolly University gives you tips

May 8, 2017 - 8:52 AM
Students from various schools test their culinary skills in various categories at the Jolly University congress, March 3, 2017. Photo courtesy of Fly Ace Corporation.

Staying true to the saying that education is not limited inside a classroom, Jolly, a leading canned fruits and vegetable line, once again hosted the Jolly University (JU)—a campus-based search and congress aimed to empower the future culinary and hospitality industry leaders.

Held last March 3 at the Le Pavilion Tent in Pasay City, JU, and now on its fourth year, The event was highlighted by a culinary showdown between 120 student-finalists coming from 23 different schools across Metro Manila and North and South Luzon. The event also had a whole day congress on culinary arts, entrepreneurship, and leadership led by the country’s top industry practitioners and leaders.

Ralph Rebulanan, associate product manager of the Jolly food line told InterAksyon, “Jolly University is a learning and culinary program that aims to bridge the gap between academe and the industry itself through workshops, competitions, and talks. It caters to the next generation of students particularly in the food industry, to become equipped professionals in the future.”

Students competed to win titles under four categories, namely: Individual Category (featuring Luzon Cuisines made easy, healthy and baon-ready); Team Main Dish Category (Visayas Cuisines Made Easy, Healthy and Jolly); Team Pasta Category (Mindanao Cuisines made Pastariffic) and Team Mocktail Category (where students are challenged to capture “the Jolly Vibe of the Philippines in a sip”).

Culinary and HRM students from different schools in Luzon participate at Jolly University’s culinary showdown and congress, March 3, 2017 Photo courtesy of Fly Ace Corporation.

The future is looking bright as students with courses related to the culinary and hospitality industry with the current restaurant boom and as the tourism industry continues to enjoy growth.

REbulanan said, “One of the industries that  are very in demand right now is the (food) service industry.. The growth in the industry itself is global.. There are a lot of trends emerging right now.. When it comes to food, it never goes out of the trend because food is a commodity.”

Liza Morales, business development and public relations manager of the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) Manila, the culinary partner of JU who mentored the participants on the other hand shared, “There’s really a very high demand for HRM (hotel and restaurant management) and culinary students now because the tourism industry of the Philippines is growing. There are more hotels being built not only in the Philippines but also worldwide. This is really a global phenomenon that the tourism industry is in an upswing.”

Rebulanan and Morales also noted that Filipinos excel in this industry because of our cooking skills as well as our hospitality.

“I believe Filipinos have a very deep sense of being hospitable, being friendly, being caring, and we always have a ready smile for everyone. We’re happy people. We fit in that industry because we’re a happy bunch,” Morales said.

Liza Morales, business development and public relations manager of the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) Manila speaks before Jolly University participants. Photo courtesy of Fly Ace Corporation.

But thriving in the culinary and hospitality industry is more than just having exceptional cooking skills and the innate hospitable nature that is already within us. According to Morales, there are qualities you need to have to be successful in the culinary and hospitality industry.

Whether you’ve just received your diploma in the culinary arts or hotel and restaurant management (HRM) course, or if you’re a high school graduate about to enter as an HRM freshman, Here are some of tips from Morales:

1. Study well.
It’s not just smiling and not just being pleasant—there’s a lot of technical knowledge that you have to acquire, including folding table napkins properly, serving properly, cooking properly, and manning the front desk efficiently. You have to learn these things together with having the right work attitude. Your school will provide you with that knowledge so take advantage of learning these things as much as you can.

2. Be prepared to spend long hours at work.
While everyone is having a vacation or having a good time during holidays, you are working. This is one thing you should be ready for. It is during the weekend, summer, Christmas season that hotels and restaurants are full. Get ready for that if you really want to enter this industry.

3. Have a positive outlook.
You have to be positive because there will always be challenges and problems along the way. Things will never be perfect in operations even if you plan it very well, but it depends on how you handle the situation, and it depends on your attitude. At the end of the day, you should still be smiling, and always with composure.

4. Be dependable and responsible.
You cannot be late, you cannot be absent. Show up on time and always be ready for work.

5. Be sincere.
Day in and out, you will be with people. It’s a people industry. The hospitality industry, whether you’re working for a hotel or an airline, restaurant, or cruise line, you are working with people. They are your guest; they are your customers. If you do not like working with people, being with people, you don’t have a sincere liking for people, or you can’t care for other people, then it will be very difficult for you because it’s a service industry; meaning, you will have to help them all the time. You should have a sincere desire to help and care for them.

6. Be committed.
If you really want something in life, you have to go for it no matter what. You have to commit to your own dreams.

7.  Be passionate.
It should come from the heart. You have to work 24/7 to achieve your dreams.

8. Be innovative.
You have to be original. You have to know how to innovate. Innovation is coming out with something better—making things better. It doesn’t have to be something new but making things better.

9. Have a good personality.
For you to be a successful, you must have the personality to back it up. As early as now, be very social. Learn how to talk with people, learn how to talk in the stage.

10. Be tough.
You have to be tough inside. When someone criticizes your dish or work, or if a customer starts yelling at you, don’t quit and walk out. Toughen it up, continue doing your job, and prove yourself. You have to be able to handle criticism.