The GCEA candidates prepared for the final in Chicago with a dessert workshop
Mathieu Castex had the ten candidates of the Global Culinary Excellence Academy (GCEA) under his wing last week at the final workshop at the Hotel and Tourism Institute (HTI) in Hong Kong. “We don’t want to prescribe the recipes in detail, but to draw up guidelines,” said the resident dessert expert and Manager Global Culinary Excellence. “That way, they can enhance any given ingredient, and that will help their dish stand out.” As a result, the participants, already chefs in LSG Sky Chefs operations around the world, spent their time learning about the necessary knowhow and were then given full creative license.
Under the supervision of Fritz Gross, Head of Culinary Excellence APAC, and Michael Boussemart, Executive Chef Hong Kong, the team could see the Hong Kong CSC in action, complete with the unique products and machinery, such as the automated testing unit that monitors the temperature and weight. And of course, they had the chance to immerse themselves in the local cuisine and culture, walking through markets and trying the multitude of street food – a vital experience for our chefs who need to be able to adapt their menus to the different international customers. In this way, the LSG Group and LSG Sky Chefs are thus passing on their knowledge to the next generation of chefs who will work in businesses around the world.
Three teams have already been formed in Hong Kong, and they will compete with each other at the final examination in Chicago, each team being tasked with creating a full menu based on different themes and target groups. The exact specifications will not be announced until autumn, giving the candidates three months to prepare.
Executive Chef Design and Development NAM Joseph Markey, one of the top three graduates of the first GCEA course, was also present at the training. On top of explaining to the candidates in a video message what they could expect at their final exam, he gave tips and tricks from his experience on how they can successfully prepare for it.
And since the GCEA program aims to cultivate our chefs’ culinary and leadership skills, the final two management courses also took place in Hong Kong, with the focus on conflict and change management.
On top of that busy agenda, chef Castex also presented at a seminar attended by 80 students from the Chinese Culinary Institute (CCI) and the International Culinary Institute (ICI), where he explained about the daily business of the LSG Group. He imparted culinary knowledge in a four-step model, which consisted of the following: Learning basic recipes, visual instruction, reproduction according to the specifications and transfer services, i.e. the development of their own concepts and recipes. “The two-day seminar has enabled apprentices to broaden their culinary general knowledge, both in theory and in practice,” said Andreas Muller, Executive Chef at the ICI. “Through discussions with colleagues and agreements within the team, it has become possible to refine the taste and presentation of the dishes.”