Upskilling of Students The Role of Engagement with Industry Professionals

KUALA LUMPUR: In today’s fast paced world, education is more vital than ever. “We continuously stay abreast with the technological trends and industry practices to prepare the students to meet industry needs. As pedagogy evolves, the educators at BERJAYA University College (BERJAYA UC) are taking an active role in engaging industry professionals into the classrooms and integrating these collaborative engagements in order to upskill the students. Hence, integrated learning is promoted to develop all skills effectively,” remarked Emeritus Professor Walter Wong, Vice-Chancellor of BERJAYA University College.

On the 20th February 2019, BERJAYA UC was proud to host two culinary professionals who conducted workshops to our students: Shaun Francis, an Australian Master Butcher representing Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), and MasterChef Australia 2017 winner, Diana Chan. Diana was born in Sitiawan, Perak and raised in Johor Bahru. Diana’s visit, hosted by the Australian High Commission, was to highlight the education connection between Australia and Malaysia in technical and vocational education and training.

Shaun introduced the idea that “butchery should not be underestimated”. Together with Ms. Rose Yong, Country Manager for Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei & Myanmar of MLA, they explained to the students that butchery is often seen as menial work, something that could be perceived as cheap labour. However, they presented that butchery is crucial to the culinary arts because one must be able to know the different cuts of meat, how it is processed, and how it can be prepared in order to improve the dining experience of the consumer.

Shaun presented the types of meat classified under beef or sheep meat, and used images to show the parts that can be used for cooking, such as the tenderloin and the rump. Much to the surprise of some, he explained that lamb and mutton are not the same, but are sheep at different ages, with lamb being a baby sheep and mutton being a two-year old sheep. Shaun also gave a detailed description on meat packaging and storage, and conducted a cooking demo on easy carve lamb. The students were thrilled when they were able to taste the lamb, even more so when there was plenty left over for seconds!

Then Ms. Diana Chan, winner of MasterChef Australia 2017, took centre stage. Her unique cooking style is influenced by her Malaysian Heritage, using fresh produce and adding her own modern twist to the dish. She prepared a local favourite, otak-otak, but her interpretation of the classic dish was far from traditional. She blended a snapper fillet with prawns, which kept the paste firmer and intact; the reason she did this was due to her deciding not to wrap the paste in banana leaf and grilling it, but instead choosing to steam the paste on its own in a tray. The final product was the paste being served with the appearance of what she described as “like a fishcake,” which she served on top of the banana leaf, garnished with chilli and coriander. Her modern take of the traditional dish was certainly fascinating to the students, and would inspire students to explore other ways of cooking local culinary masterpieces.

In order to add a multicultural twist to a pan-seared lamb, Diana covered the cutlets in dukkah, a condiment native to Egypt, set upon a spoonful of homemade pesto and a side of buttered couscous. Diana’s frequent interaction with the students had them take away this thought: pursue your passion in cooking. These interactions definitely empower students to take ownership of their learning and has transformed the “old school way of learning” to a more collaborative environment.

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