Words by Andrew Koh and Angie Koh
France is a country well-loved by visitors. Aside from the diversity of its landscape and remarkable landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, France is internationally recognised for its exquisite cuisines and food culture. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage since 2010, French gastronomy has become a way of life and remains captivating to many.
In June 2019, NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) worked in close collaboration with the French Embassy and Disciples Escoffier International, Singapore, to start an initiative bringing relevant knowledge as part of Chef 4.0, back to Singapore.
This knowledge is about understanding French ingredients, their use and nutritional value as a basis for the training of skills such as Food Presentation, Menu Planning, and Development within the framework of Chef 4.0. With the joint effort of these parties, a team of five led by Jessica Prevost, the Honorary Secretary General and Ambassador of Disciples Escoffier International, Singapore, set off on a short trip to France in July 2019. These invaluable insights were eventually compiled and published in the booklet titled A Journey to France.
The booklet covered the adventures of the team on the journey through 11 regions, getting to know the land and its terroirs. They spent time with producers varying from Meats, Poultry, Seafood, Cheeses and Chocolates to Wine, Champagnes.
With the common goal in bringing back relevant training to upskill the local workers, a team of 13 Singaporean delegates comprising representatives from e2i, the French Embassy, French Express, Singapore Food Agency and a group of F&B industry partners embarked on another learning journey to France in February 2020. As supported by the French Government, the team visited AgroParisTech, the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Science, with the objective of addressing the main global challenges of (1) Population in a sustainable way, (2) Protecting natural resources, (3) Fostering innovation and (4) Developing the bio-economy. During this visit, the team explored various areas including food nutrition and ways in managing food.
Back in Singapore, the F&B industry is constantly undergoing transformation to remain competitive and sustainable, thus there is a need for businesses to prepare the workforce for these new challenges. With the input of over 200 respondents including the management and professionals from the F&B industry, the Chef 4.0 concept, was launched to address employees’ skill gaps in terms of Adaptive, Technology and Technical Skills. Specifically, it includes areas like F&B business management, tapping on technologies like self-ordering systems to promote efficiency, understanding the nutritional value of food, menu planning and development.
With the commitment to help the F&B industry, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was established among AgroParisTech, e2i and French Express in a move to transfer relevant knowledge and skills back to Singapore, which will be used thereafter to train our local pool of workers in becoming Chef 4.0.
Jessica has since returned from her endeavours to focus on her work in Angliss Singapore. She lives her passion in the culinary industry and contributes back to the society by grooming the future generations.