Swiss Chef Impressed KDU Culinary Students With Culinary Creativity

KDU Diploma in Culinary Arts students at Chef Norbert Ehrbar’s talk, sampling one of the dishes prepared at the demo.  Chef Norbert Ehrbar, member of the Chef’s Association of Switzerland, sharing experiences in using poultry seasoning in preparing fried chicken drumsticks. 
KDU students cheer for Chef Norbert Ehrbar (centre with his chef-hat) after his interesting demonstration on using HELA products. SHTCA’s Chef Lecture Kenneth Kam Yu Ken (left in first row) joins in.   
First-hand learning experiences from industry leaders are essential in culinary studies, as not only will this inspire young learners to inherit the accumulated wisdom from their ‘guru’, but their creativity will also be stimulated based on the strong foundation the leaders had formed in this industry.

Apart from what is taught in the classroom or kitchen, KDU University College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts (SHTCA) constantly empowers its culinary students by inviting industry elites to impart their great experiences and abundance of knowledge.

For this round, Chef Norbert Ehrbar, a member of the Chef’s Association of Switzerland, was invited to KDU campus in Utropolis Glenmarie on 10 August, to share his experiences in using pure flavoring and condiments, which includes oil and dressing, taste enhancers, instant stocks, broths, soups, sauces, spice blends, marinades, liquid spices and smoke flavourings, as a solution for foodservice.

Currently a food consultant in in Vietnam, Chef Ehrbar is also a culinary instructor at the Saigon Tourist Hospitality College and guest lecturer at Hoa Sen University in Ho Chi Minh City. In a collaboration with Hela, an international manufacturer of mixed spices, Chef Ehrbar introduced KDU’s Diploma in Culinary Arts students to various efficient cooking methods which can preserve and enhance the original taste of raw ingredients.

“Today, we are demonstrating the use of some convenient ingredients which will make our life easier. Spice mixtures and seasoning blends not only simplifies things, but it also helps to enhance the flavours of fresh produce and ingredients,” Chef Ehrbar explained.

Utilising the state-of-the-art kitchen facilities in KDU’s culinary theatre, Chef Ehrbar served the audiences with 9 dishes in merely 2 hours. The dishes prepared and served at the demonstration include beef burger patties, Cajun fried chicken drumsticks, mustard herb duck, Winzersteak salmon fillet, flavoured rice, butter rice and seafood skewers in various styles.

The two-hour demonstration piqued the students’ interest as they learned about the variety of herbs and spices, seasonings and the different ways in preparing food. It was a session that took them on a journey of senses – sight, smell and taste – and satisfied their curiosity.

“I learned that different spices actually changes the flavour of the fresh products. It’s important to pay attention to the balance of the spices that we use as well. One of the most common mistakes made in many commercial restaurants is that the dishes are over-flavoured. But Chef Ehrbar’s demonstration showed us that with a balance of the right spices, the flavour of the fresh products can really shine through,” said Fathimath Shu’ula, one of the students who attended the demonstration.

Chan Yue Kang, a student who intends to specialise in baking and pastry, was excited when he got to know more about the different kind of herbs and spices available. “As herbs and spices are also used in baking and pastry, I come with the intention to learn more from the speaker.”

How Yen Hua, a student who wants to learn Italian cuisine echoed, “Knowing more about the various herbs and spices is certainly useful as I would like to specialise in Italian cuisine.”

SHTCA’s Chef Lecturer Kenneth Kam Yu Ken commented, “As herbs and marinades are essential in giving additional flavours to fresh products when paired correctly, I wish to provide more exposure for my students as chefs-to-be. I want them to know that manufacturers such as HELA exists, and that such extensive varieties of custom blends, spices mixtures and seasoning blends for the meat, poultry, bakery and other sectors of the food industry are available in the market.”

“From Chef Ehrbar’s demo, they will also learn about compound spices which are easy to use. At the end of the day, they may be able to experiment or make their own spices just by reading the ingredients shown on the label,” concluded Kam.