PH welcomes first-ever Filipino Escoffier apprentices

Pioneer batch of CCA-ICDE French Culinary Arts program honored

By setting out on a path that fuelled their culinary passions, nine Filipinos have made a mark in history as the first batch of graduates of the French cuisine flagship program of the Institut Culinaire Disciples Escoffier (ICDE)  and the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA Manila). The pioneer batch, consisting of professionals and students from diverse backgrounds, was honored via formal commencement rites held recently at the Cravings Fraser Place in Makati City.

The successful graduates are: Andrei Arlo Carsi Aniag, Mary Ann Enriquez, Michael Daniele Fortes, Maricon Hii, Mika Nagashima, Jecelle Joi Oliva, Armin Saharkhiz, Leslie Suarez, and Lisam John Tan. 

Taking pride in their milestone are their families and friends, together with the ICDE and CCA officials led by Marinela Guererro-Trinidad (CEO, Cravings Group), Thierry Muller (CFO ICDE-President Amis Disciples Escoffier International Asia), Chef Philip John Golding (Founding President, Disciples Escoffier Philippines Delegation), Dr. Ma. Veritas Luna (CCA Manila Chancellor), Liza Hernandez-Morales (Business Development & PR Director) and Chef Bruno Tirel (CCA-ICDE Philippines faculty). Also there to witness the commencement is French Masterchef Cyrille Soenen (Director of Culinary Arts, Food and Beverage of Resorts World Manila) and Delphine Bonneau (Professeur de Lycee Professionnel titulaire 2eme Grade), the assessment professor and representative of the French Ministry of Education.

Prior to receiving their well-deserved certifications, the graduates, using the classical French cookery training they have obtained from their French masterschef-instructors, prepared a dish for final assessment by Bonneau. Each graduate was later presented with three diplomas — the Escoffier Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts from ICDE, the National Diploma in French Cuisine from the French Ministry of Education– both of which are internationally recognized certifications and a diploma in French cuisine from CCA Manila.

Thierry Muller expressed his elation over the graduates’ commendable work. “We are very happy and honored to introduce a huge and worldwide organization and a recognized French culinary program in the Philippines. As the newest members of the biggest congregation of chefs in the world, I congratulate our first batch of ICDE graduates in the Philippines. Today, you have made the first step. Don’t forget the teachings of Auguste Escoffier as you go on your journey as professional chefs.”      

In her speech, Marinela Guererro-Trinidad recalled how the ground-breaking collaboration between CCA, Manila and ICDE made way for the Philippines’ pioneer Escoffier Class of 2017. 

“All the decisions took time as we were committed to establish a French culinary arts program that is at the forefront of culinary innovation and at par with international standards. ICDE was certainly the best partner for this program. The CCA family deeply thank Chef Robert Fontana, Thierry Muller, Ben Grenier and Vincent Leroux for their uncompromising support to this partnership. Our first batch of graduates is proof of our shared efforts in establishing the ICDE Philippines. To our graduates, I congratulate you and your families on your completion of this program. You mark the 20th anniversary of CCA and the launch of this cutting edge culinary arts program. Now, it is time for you to champion the exact words of ICDE’s founder and CEO Robert Fontana to make Asia the melting pot for new culinary talents, heritage, curiosity and audacity,” she said.

For Batch 2017 graduate Andrei Arlo Carsi Aniag, he believes his Disciples Escoffier Diploma in Culinary Arts will help open doors for them, especially for him whose family is in the business of food. “As a third generation, I’m planning to expand our business more. I think this is a wonderful program for those who want to create a path in culinary education in the Philippines. Doors are indeed opening around the world, offers have been coming in for internships from Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, specifically Spain and France, and also New York, and I’m so happy for that. After my stint, I plan to come back here to inspire more and elevate the Filipino cuisine in my own little way.”   

The new graduates can look forward to a full range of support services, one of which is being part of the Escoffier alumni network with over 25,000 members in 26 countries. ICDE is the professional culinary school of Disciples Escoffier International, a non-profit organization that is guided by the standards established by legendary chef Auguste Escoffier who revolutionized the fine dining industry and pioneered commercial kitchen systems worldwide. 

Enrollment for the second batch of the Escoffier French Cuisine course is ongoing. For more information, call 218-8566 or 0917-5059370 or email: talktoccamanila@gmail.com, or visit: www.cca-manila.edu.ph. CCA Makati is located on H.V. dela Costa Street, Makati City.

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