28 May 2013

Culinary school opens branch in Subic Freeport

Culinary enthusiasts and restaurateurs in the region now have a chance to hone their kitchen skills without having to go to Manila, as one of the country’s premier culinary schools opened its doors in this free port.

The Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) recently opened a branch here — their fifth thus far — to address the rising demand for quality culinary education in Region 3.

CACS offers one-year professional diploma courses for Commercial Cooking National Certificate (NC)-IV, Commercial Cooking NC-III, Commercial Cooking NC-II, and Bread & Pastry Production NC-II certifications from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The school also offers basic skills program where the students will receive NC-II in commercial cooking, as well as one-day short courses.

Chef Gene Gonzalez, CACS president, said the school would complement Subic’s growth as a thriving tourism capital by filling in the demand for culinary professionals here.

He also said that the school would boost the local food and beverage industry.

“When we first branched out to Davao, immediately on the first year we saw growth in the restaurant industry there. Immediately, there were 60 restaurants that opened in that once sleepy city,” Gonzales said. “That is what we would like to happen here.”

He also said that he was very pleased with the warm welcome from residents of Olongapo City. “It’s enticing that they see a need for a highly professional school,” he added.

Gonzales added that they initially intended to offer only short courses for their Subic branch, but decided to open a one-year diploma program because a lot of local residents expressed interest in enrolling.

Chef Mark Bernardino, one of the school’s instructors, said that CACS would operate as a true school, and all of the students would receive quality training from their best instructors.

"You come here to learn to cook not for yourself, but for others,” he said.

He added that Subic’s location at a halfway point between Manila and North Luzon would make their school ideal to students from the Central and the North Luzon areas.

The CACS Subic branch has already started its first class for the professional course with eight students, most of whom are restaurant owners.

The school is also promoting Philippine cuisine and is gearing up for the “International Adobo Day” on June 12, when renowned chefs from all over the country will be here to judge the best in adobo cooking. (FMD/MPD-SBMA)

Chef Gene Gonzales, president of the Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS), explains cooking techniques to students at the opening of the culinary school branch in the Subic Bay Freeport.