Hot chilli peppers are hotter than the guy or girl of your fantasies, chilled desserts are cooler than the coolest kid in town, and the only perfume you want to wear is the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. And should there be a gallery devoted to gorgeous paintings and photos, it is in your humble opinion that it should only host images of beautifully-plated dishes.
Okay, so perhaps such an exaggerated description may not quite fit you, but you certainly love cooking. Whether you’ve always known that you wanted to be a chef, or only recently discovered your passion for the gastronomical world, a course in Culinary Arts may be just the thing if you’re looking to pursue a culinary career.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about studying Culinary Arts in Malaysia.
#1. The Basics of Culinary Arts
a) What Is Culinary Arts?
Culinary Arts is essentially the art of cooking. It’s also about design.
Learning to cook in a way that makes people salivate just by looking or smelling alone is what makes the difference. It’s not just about cooking for people to eat, but cooking a dish for people to remember. After all, anyone can cook a meal to fill their empty stomachs, but not everyone can cook a meal that seduces people to come back for more.
A course in Culinary Arts will teach you the skills and knowledge to prepare various types of food and beverages, from Western and Asian cuisine to breads and patisserie, as well as how to smoothly operate a kitchen.
Not only that, a Degree in Culinary Arts often includes several management subjects, including Accounting, Economics and Hospitality & Tourism Law. These are particularly useful should you plan to take up a managerial position in the Hospitality & Tourism industry.
#2. Studying a Culinary Arts Course
a) Entry Requirements & Qualifications
To pursue a Culinary Arts course, naturally, you will need to meet the minimum entry requirements set by respective colleges and universities.
(i) Diploma in Culinary Arts
If you are planning to pursue a Diploma in Culinary Arts, you will generally need:
- SPM / O-Level: Minimum 3 credits, or
- UEC: Minimum 3Bs
A Diploma in Culinary Arts is typically 2 years long, and emphasises on the practical skills and hands-on knowledge of Culinary Arts, rather than academic or theoretical knowledge.
Upon completing your Diploma, you can choose to start your culinary career, or opt to continue on with your Degree in Culinary Arts by entering Year 2 of a Degree.
(ii) Degree in Culinary Arts
To pursue a Degree in Culinary Arts, you will need to have completed SPM or equivalent, AND completed a Pre-University or Foundation course.
In general, the entry requirements for Pre-University or Foundation level are:
- A-Level: Minimum 2Es, or
- STPM: Minimum 2Cs, or
- Australian Matriculation: Minimum of ATAR 50, or
- Foundation, Asasi or Matrikulasi: Minimum CGPA of 2.00
Typically, a Degree in Culinary Arts is 3 years long.
Compared to a Diploma, a Degree in Culinary Arts typically focuses more on developing entrepreneurial and management skills in the food & beverage industry.
b) How Does Your Education Pathway Look Like?
Upon completing your SPM or equivalent, you can choose to either take a Pre-University (e.g. A-Level, STPM, Matrikulasi, etc.) or Foundation in Arts course. Alternatively, you can also head straight into a Diploma in Culinary Arts.
Completing one of those courses will allow you to progress to a Degree in Culinary Arts.
c) What Will You Study in Culinary Arts?
As part of a Culinary Arts programme, you will learn various subjects to enhance your taste buds and hone your culinary skills. From cost calculation and food preparation to kitchen service and restaurant operations, you will develop the knowledge and skills needed for a successful culinary career!
Here are some of the subjects that you may learn:
- Essential Cuisine Techniques
- Kitchen Operations & Management
- Food Nutrition & Sanitation
- Beverage Studies
- Patisserie & Baking
- Cost Control & Financial Management
- Menu Design & Creation
- Principles of Accounting
In most universities and culinary schools, you will usually be required to undergo an internship as part of your studies to develop practical and relevant skills in the industry. This is your chance to shine, as you could very well land yourself a job even before you graduate!
#3. Why Should You Study Culinary Arts?
Culinary Arts can be an exciting and rewarding course, especially for those who have a passion for the gastronomical world.
Here are some reasons why you should consider studying Culinary Arts.
(a) You just love to cook. Duh.
The easiest way for someone to butter you up is to get some pans for you to butter up. Books, blogs, Pinterest boards, anything and everything related to food and cooking — nothing excites you more. You enjoy learning new and exciting ways of cooking, and you’re always tinkering and experimenting in the kitchen.
Taking up a Culinary Arts course will take you to the next level, teaching you everything you ever wanted to do in a kitchen, and more!
(b) It is your dream to start a food business
With so many cafés and restaurants mushrooming recently in Malaysia, you might think that operating a food & beverage outlet is a piece of cake. But the truth is that the food business is extremely competitive, so it’s best to go in with your eyes wide open.
Pursuing a Degree in Culinary Arts will equip you with the right technical and entrepreneurial skills to run both the kitchen and the business. And if your chef decides to walk off in a huff, you can always put on the apron and cook up a storm!
(c) You could be a globetrotter
As part of your culinary journey, you may find yourself travelling the world and working at many well-known restaurants to hone your skills and experience different cuisines. Some universities and culinary schools in Malaysia may start you off early, giving you the option to study a semester abroad while also doing your internship.
Or, as you progress in your career, you may have the chance to work as an apprentice to various famous chefs! But better be mentally prepared to take the heat. You don’t want to make embarrassing mistakes and be caught with your pans down.
#4. What Skills Do You Need for a Culinary Arts Course?
Here are some of the key qualities and skills that you will need to develop in order to do well in a Culinary Arts course.
(a) Ability to communicate effectively
Imagine you’re in the kitchen having to prepare large volumes of food in short span of time, working with people who may or may not speak the same language as you, with the added pressure of a horde of hungry customers outside. The environment is hectic, with things boiling, frying and steaming. Let’s not even mention all the sharp knives and utensils.
As you can see, being able to communicate efficiently and effectively is extremely crucial, not just to come up with mouthwatering dishes but also to avoid accidents from happening. Being able to cook is one thing; running a smooth kitchen and restaurant operation is another!
(b) Ability to think creatively
As its name suggests, Culinary Arts is essentially the art of cooking. And as an artist in the kitchen, you must be willing to think creatively, exploring different ingredients and experimenting with various flavours to come up with innovative dishes.
While you will be required to learn the basics of food preparation, sanitation, knife skills and various culinary techniques, you will have the opportunity to whip up inspiring concoctions and sell them to unsuspecting college mates!
(c) Strong time management skills
Working on many orders with a multitude of other things going on at the same time will no doubt be stressful, and you will need to decide quickly what needs to be done first to ensure nothing gets overcooked and the order comes out just right. You will need to manage everything that’s going on at your station, while mentally keeping track of everything else that’s happening around the kitchen!
#5. What Career Options Do You Have with a Culinary Arts Degree?
Here are some career prospects that you can consider with a qualification in Culinary Arts.
- Commis Chef
- Station Chef / Chef de Partie
- Sous Chef
- Executive Chef / Chef de Cuisine
- Pastry Chef
- Catering Chef / Manager
- Food & Beverage Manager
- Food Marketing Consultant
- Food Service Manager
- Food Stylist
- Food Writer / Critic
- Restaurant Manager
#6. Where Can You Study Culinary Arts in Malaysia?
Here are some of the popular universities and culinary schools that offer Culinary Arts in Malaysia.
Bachelor of Culinary Management (Hons)
Campus: Subang Jaya, Selangor
Intakes: Mar & Aug
Estimated Fees: RM103,272
Scholarships: Up to 100% tuition fee waiver
Receive dual-award recognition and certification from both Taylor’s University and the University of Toulouse, France
Industry-centric curriculum, with workshops and practical demonstrations from industry leaders and professional chefs
Has a focus on business and management to develop your entrepreneurial and management skills
Berjaya University College of Hospitality
Bachelor of Culinary Arts Management (Hons)
Campus: Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Jan, May & Sep
Estimated Fees: RM79,200
Scholarships: Up to 30% tuition fee waiver
Receive valuable and up-to-date insights on the industry along with 1st job priority for internships and job opportunities at the Berjaya group of companies
As part of BERJAYA’s Immersion Methodology, “classrooms” are often simulation laboratories which mirror what you would encounter while on-the-job
Meet industry leaders and celebrity chefs and learn from their professional experiences
YTL International College of Hotel Management
Diploma in Culinary Arts
Campus: Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Feb, Apr & Aug
Estimated Fees: RM36,000
Scholarships: Up to RM2,000 tuition fee waiver
Learn and practice with industrial-grade kitchen tools and equipment
Internship placement within YTL’s collection of award-winning hotels and resorts
Job guarantee upon completion of studies at YTL’s group of hotels and resorts
KDU Penang University College
Diploma in Professional Chef Training
Campus: Georgetown, Penang
Intakes: Jan, Apr & Aug
Estimated Fees: RM45,870
Scholarships: Up to RM13,000 tuition fee waiver
Learn from lecturers and chefs who are experts in the field, some of whom are Master Chefs, Celebrity Chefs and F&B specialists
Equipped with RM 6 million worth of learning facilities, including professional commercial kitchens and F&B outlets
Choose from a wide network of 5-star establishments for your internship, both locally and internationally