KDU University College Alumni Xchange Programme

Chef Raymond Tham sharing his wealth of experiences to attentive KDU Students. KDU guest speakers, (Most left) Mr. Christopher Yee, (Middle) Mr. Raymond Tham & (Right) Mr. Kenn Yeap.
Our guest’ receiving the “KDU Alumni Herald” from Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hon Wei Min. Group photo “Wefie” of KDU guests and participants of the XChange session.
The Student and Alumni Center (SAC) of KDU University College, Utropolis Glenmarie recently organised its inaugural Alumni Xchange, an exchange session between KDU alumni and current students. As alumnus with professional success, the scope of knowledge and real-life experiences they accumulate and carry over the years were definitely an exciting chapter to share with the students of today in helping them to better understand the intricacies and volatile nature of the industries that they will soon join. This exchange session aimed to enlighten and educate these young minds to strive for excellence in their future endeavours.

The first speaker, Chef Raymond Tham, is no stranger to pastry. Despite graduating with honours in Business Administration in the UK and hospitality management in KDU Malaysia, Raymond’s passion in pastry led him to a scholarship in one of the world’s renowned culinary institute. Raymond shared his 5-year apprenticeship and working experience in Wentworth Golf Club Surrey, England, which enabled him to develop vast skills in the art of patisserie. One of this key milestones was to create desserts for the wedding reception of Mr. Tom Parker Bowles, food writer and son of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Despite his many achievements abroad, such as becoming the Senior Chef-De-Partie with Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, Raymond decided to return home to Malaysia. He continued his professional journey in KDU University College and took up the challenge of teaching patisseries, chocolate and confections for over 3 years. He won several medals for KDU University College (Bronze & Silver medal for Showpieces in Food Hotel Asia [FHA] and Asia’s Leading Food & Hospitality Tradeshow [HOFEX]). Following his academic experience, Raymond assumed the position of Technical Advisor at Barry Callebaut Asia Pacific, where his main responsibilities included conducting demonstrations and hands-on training for gourmet brands such as Cacao Barry, Callebaut, Sicao and Selbourne. Currently, Raymond is the chef patron of Skillet@163 in Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur. Within 2 years, Skillet won a few accolades; to name a few, the Best European 2015 by Timeout KL and Best Independent Restaurant 2016 by Expatriate lifestyle, Top 10 restaurant ranking in TripAdvisor among 3,000 restaurants around KL.

Our second speaker Mr. Kenn Yeap, who completed his Diploma in Mass Communications and Bachelor of Communications in in Public Relations and Media Studies at KDU, came with much passion and shared his inspiring motto with our students; “It’s not that you can or not, but whether you want or not”. Kenn worked with RTM English Radio Station as the Assistant Producer for the Morning Show and Drive Time Show, assisting the radio station in the collaboration between the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia and Ministry of Tourism. Kenn then joined Life Magazine, under Feminine Magazine, as the only male journalist to run for news and educational feature writer. He was then appointed as Private Secretary to Deputy Minister of Trade, Cooperative and Consumerist, Dato’ Tan Lian Hoe, handling her daily schedule, parliamentary tasks and ministerial assignments. In 2012, Kenn joined NTV7’s Public Relations, with one of his highlights being appointed as PR Officer for Dato’ Lee Chong Wei and Datin’ Wong Mew Choo’s wedding. Currently, Kenn is working in Media Prima TV Network, in the Consumer and Marketing and Communications Group.

Finally, the last speaker for the day, Christopher Yee shared briefly on his accomplishments and encouraged students to take charge and make the effort to drive their dreams. Born Kuala Lumpupr, Christopher was an ex-state swimmer for KL, after which he completed his culinary studies in London. Upon completing his studies, Christopher did his apprenticeship at one of Paris’ well-known brasserie, Le Vaudeville. A year later he joined the Hilton Hotel in London. As a Commis Chef, he worked his way up, where he eventually was promoted to be one of the youngest Chef de partie in Hilton London. Still, only in his twenties, he decided to further his studies and moved back to Kuala Lumpur to complete his bachelor degree in European Culinary Management in KDU. He gained more personal prestige in 2007 when he won his first Gold medal award in the Food Hotel Malaysia, and followed by many more culinary competition in both the local and international arena. In 2012, Christopher struck out and opened up Topshelf Restaurant, situated in Tam Tun Dr Ismail. Over the span of 4 years, Christopher has managed to build his reputation and clientele, turning Topshelf Restaurant into a hip and happening place whereby some customer would call it “a hidden gem”.

Wrapping up the session, KDU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic, Associate Professor Dr. Hon Wei Min presented our guest speakers with the “KDU Alumni Herald”, which outlines the programme initiative of supporting our schools and programmes, linking students and alumni to a larger community, and building stronger connections in developing their career and education pathways. This initiative aims at collaborating with them not only in fortifying the alumni engagement and networking, but to be the bridge for our mentoring efforts by providing current students with the opportunity to connect with alumni and discuss future career options and endeavours.

The Alumni XChange session was greatly appreciated by the students from having the opportunity to hear from young entrepreneurs such as our speakers that worked alongside KDU in bringing student engagement and hands-on exposure for everyone to learn and cherish together.