Living the Dream : Istituto Culinario

At the beginning of the year, Paul and I made our SuperPlan..the kind that we promise to stick to as we really want to make a difference this 2012. I wrote about this a month ago, sharing with you how we've been wanting to take up a culinary course to sharpen our kitchen skills.

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It's not a big secret that the Big Guy up there loves us very much. As early as February, we got an invite from our dear friend Spanky to attend the grand opening of Istituto Culinario. The newest, most innovative institution that specializes in the culinary arts. The best part about this is it's located so close to home. Definitely a billboard sign for us to take notice and consider when mapping out our plan.

Last Saturday, Paul and I headed to the O.B. Montessori campus to take part of the celebration. Upon registering we were given a passport wherein we're told that it will be our handy guide as we tour around the campus. This was the start of our exciting evening!

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Together with our guide Lou, we headed up to the 7th floor where we were greeted by their friendly admin staff. The office had a very modern look with the bright red and black lighted logo that will greet you as the elevator door opens. We went to check out their back office as well as their meeting rooms where great ideas were and will continue to be created.

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After the admin room, we headed to their Library. I love the rows after rows of books! They are also subscribed to the best local and foreign magazines too! :) Sadly, the library is just available to the students of Istituto Culinario and not to the public.

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We then headed to the classroom where the ratio of student to teacher is 15:1. Gone are the days where we would use overhead projectors or acetates during lectures. Here, all lecture rooms are complete with A/V facilities where professors can show videos through the LED TVs.

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After visiting the pretty lecture rooms, we headed down to the 6th floor where we took a peek at one of the 4 Kitchen Laboratories. Their kitchen is equipped with world class machines which allows students to be familiar in operating them which eventually they will also use as they work in top hotels and restaurants someday.

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I can smell something cooking and true enough, the students treated us to their hand-made Spinach ravioli which was so yummy!

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The ravioli was made from scratch as the students took charge in creating the wrapper down to mixing the filling and cooking this with the creamy sauce. We were told that it just took them a few hours to learn this particular recipe. Amazing!

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We also saw the Demo Laboratory which has three uses: it is a classroom for students to watch their professors demonstrate a recipe while it turns into a coffee room for coffee house lectures and later a fun barista nook for all bartending sessions.

This Demo Laboratory has a high quality camera and a flat screen TV to allow students to clearly see every step of the procedure done by their professor. Just imagine watching a TV show live, I guess that how it feels to be in this room.

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We visited more laboratories where we met this student who's practicing for his upcoming Cake Decorating competition in Singapore. Best of luck to you! Bring home the bacon cake!!!

They also have a well-stocked pantry that holds all their ingredients. This is actually set for renovation but with the size of this room, how I wish I can have one like this at home where we can stock all our junk food and favorite grocery finds! I can stay all day in here! :)

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hello Ms Lou!

We had a great time touring the 2-level campus of Istituto Culinario. This just got to be one of the most modern culinary institution in the country today.

Of course, it's not enough for the students to just learn the theories or to be bound by the four walls of their classrooms and laboratories. Someday, they have to go out to the real world and run their own kitchen the same way a captain would run his ship. Thus, there's Brasserie Cicou where the students will have their internship under the tutelage of Celebrity Chef Cyrille Soenen.

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This was where we headed to after our short tour around the campus. It was party time after all and we were treated to a wide-array of dishes specially prepared by both the students and chefs of the restaurant.

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I love the Mac and Cheese, the Blood Sausage, the desserts and a lot more! It was truly a delight for our taste buds to try all these wonderful and artistic creations.

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I also had a great time chatting with fellow food bloggers and Chefs Ed of Pino/Pipino and Jutz of Gino's Brick Oven Pizza in Katipunan.  There were actually a lot of who's who in the food industry that evening and I was really chef-strucked!

The Surprise

As we were enjoying our food and drinks, Spanky went on stage to introduce the Chef-Instructors of Istituto Culinario with Chef Chris Bautista who's the Program Head, Chef Jerome Valencia, Chef JA Ventura, Junior Master Chef Judge, Chef JP Anglo, Chef Ching Yoingco, Chef James Antolin and of course, Chef Cyrille Soenen.

After the brief introduction, they raffled off some cool prizes such as gift certificates to the restaurant and (get this) a scholarship to their upcoming One-Day Asian Cooking Short Course.

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Guess who won!!!

This is us, living the dream! Paul will be attending this course and we're really so excited! We've began the countdown and that's two weeks to go before his class! Woohoo!

For those who, like us, has been wanting to take up a culinary class or perhaps wants to pursue the culinary track, consider Istituto Culinario as they have two types of programs available: the 2-year Diploma Program (TESDA) -- Culinary Arts and Food Service Management or the 4-year Bachelor's Degree Program (CHEF) -- Bachelor of Science in Food Managmeent, Major in Food Service.

*photo credit: Paul Ang

Istituto Culinario and Brasserie Cicou are located at 57 Annapolis street, Greenhills, San Juan City. For inquiries, call them at 723-9064/722-9720 to 27 local 234.

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