Saturday, June 1, 2013


In the animated film Ratatouille, the French chef Gusteau made that famous line: “Anyone can cook!” In my case, I’d like to think that because I love to eat, I must learn how to cook. Thus, that’s how my interest in culinary started. It’s true, anyone can cook. It’s really just a matter of having the right attitude; as in every new skill you have to learn and in doing so you become a dedicated student. 

Sure, there are recipes. It could either be simple or more advanced in technique, but nevertheless easy to follow. Always read through a recipe and familiarize yourself with the ingredients. In culinary, we have a French term called “Mise en Place”—it’s a golden rule followed by all professional chefs and culinary students. It literally means that all the ingredients are “put in place” before the actual cooking process begins.

My recent visit to the Academy for International Culinary Arts (AICA) during their Open House brought back memories of my own struggles as a culinary student taking up baking and pastry arts. With the numerous culinary schools nowadays sprouting like mushrooms, finding the right school had been quite a daunting task. You have to find out what these culinary schools can provide and offer? I think it’s also good to know and learn about their instructors’ experience and professional background so you can be assured of your own education

The author in her chef jacket.

The first time I set my foot on AICA, I thought it was some café or restaurant with an open kitchen. But it was later explained by the AICA’s school registrar/student coordinator, Ms. Khristine Crisostomo that it’s meant to be that way for the students’ restaurant simulation (a part of their course) where they have a task of designing and decorating the resto according to a certain theme and creating a menu based on it. 

AICA offers an International Culinary Arts Diploma Course—it’s a combination of strong theoretical foundation, advance practical training and intense formative experiences. They also have certificate courses such as Fundamentals of Professional Cooking (64 hrs.), Fundamentals of Professional baking and Pastry (64 hrs.), Fundamentals of Professional Asian or European Cooking (32 hrs.)

So you might ask why choose AICA? “We have been providing world-class culinary education since 2004. We have distinguished chef instructors with excellent credentials like Chefs Nicki Zamora, Neil Manuel, Lilibeth Camposano and pastry and baking chef Lara Dizon,” quips Mr. Jason Maquimot, AICA’s Marketing Coordinator. Not to be outdone with facilities, AICA boasts of a restaurant kitchen, professional kitchen and a basic kitchen, along with a classroom exclusive for a class size of 14 students per class to give ample hands-on and more focused culinary education. “Here at AICA, we have high hands-on policy. We’re also TESDA accredited plus reliable internship programs with top restaurants and hotels here and broad.” 

In fact, AICA’s president and proprietor, Mr. Michael Tiaoqui also studied culinary and baking and pastry at AICA himself so that he gets to experience the intensive and world-class training at AICA’s. You can even watch the AICA video here yourself:

I believe practice makes one a better in the kitchen. Not all your dishes will come out perfect, but you will learn along the way. Enroll in a culinary school like AICA where small class size is always better than huge ones. Once you’re able to build confidence and erase self-doubt, you learn to cook by instinct. Here, your senses must be fully alert. Have a keen eye; learn to cook by touching, smelling and tasting. Good luck!

For more info on Academy of International Culinary Art or AICA, visit their website at or call (02) 672.2271/671.0276 to 77.
Special thanks to Ms. Khristine Crisostomo, Mr. Jason Maquimot and Mr. Ronald Sunglao. 

Check out their campuses:
Pasig Branch
2nd flr. Skyway Twin Towers
351 Capt. Henry Javier Street, Brgy. Oranbo, Pasig City (Just a few blocks away from ULTRA and Valle Verde Country Club)
Cebu Campus:
The Gallery, Juan Luna St. Cor. Golam Drive, Mabolo, Cebu City, Philippines
(+632) 316.4828/268.5636.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Just wondering if you can share your experiences with aica backthen... Im planning to enroll in a culinary school but am torn between 3 schools... 2 of those you wrote about.


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