After two successful culinary cups taking place in Chicago and Mexico in 2011 and 2012, the third Laureate Culinary Cup was held this year in Chile. For the third time in row, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts participated in such an anticipated culinary event. Two students from the graduating semester were chosen based on theoretical and practical achievements throughout their educational period at the Academy. This year, Zakiah Zakaria and Suman Sayed were the candidates to participate in this one of a kind experience.
Both the young chefs had a passion, which as Chef Zakiah describes is their engine that helped them in winning the gold medal with distinction. The Singaporean chef has finished her A-levels from an Islamic school in her home country, where she explains that her passion for pastries has only continued to flourish. “It just makes me happy! I used to start baking at midnight, when my parents where asleep.” Added Chef Zakiah. Her journey at the Academy started because she had a dream of being one of the worlds leading chefs. “My family did not like the idea at first to have a culinary education as a major and a lifetime career. We have the mindset of being doctors, lawyers, engineers and architects and that really was not of my interest. It was hard convincing my parents that it is what I really want.” the chef explained. Searching the web for the best culinary schools in the world, Chef Zakiah came across the website of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, located in Amman, Jordan. “ It was as if my dream came true, a world leading culinary school and a Swiss Diploma, in a country where religion and culture were not that different.” Discussing it with her family and gaining their acceptance to move on, Chef Zakiah was enrolled at the Academy by 2012 to start her life long dream.
As for the Bahraini national Chef Suman, her culinary journey started right after she finished her high school education, where she worked for two years as Commis 3 chef at a five star hotel in Bahrain to gaining culinary experience. Chef Suman was lucky enough to earn a full scholarship to pursue her culinary education after her extraordinary performance at the Royal Golf Club in Bahrain. “Even through my work at the Royal Golf Club, I always wanted to continue my education. The Specific Council of Bahrain for Hospitality Sector granted me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and join the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in Amman, Jordan.” Chef Suman explained. The young chef has always believed that both theoretical and practical knowledge are essential in this demanding career. “As a chef, you should have excellent practical experience and be very well organized in the kitchen and have the basic knowledge of food and cooking techniques, nutrition, food safety and hygiene.” added Chef Suman.
Both chefs were able to win the gold medal with distinction last June in the Laureate Culinary Cup in Chile, placing Jordan, once again on the culinary map of the world. More of their experience at the Laureate Cup will be published in the second part of the chefs’ journey.
*Pictures courtesy of both chefs