ICCA Dubai hopes to sponsor 52 chefs next year

24 young chefs graduated from the school's culinary scholarship programme in May 2016

Andy Cuthbert speaking at the ceremony.
Andy Cuthbert speaking at the ceremony.

The International Centre for Culinary Arts Dubai (ICCA Dubai) hopes to increase the number of young chefs it offers a culinary scholarship to, as part of its AED 1 Million Continuing Education Award.

The centre recently hosted the graduation programme of 24 young chefs who were selected to be part of the AED 1 Million Continuing Education Award – the first of its kind annual 100% Culinary Scholarship Programme by ICCA Dubai.

Speaking at the ceremony, Cuthbert said: “We are here to celebrate the 24 young people who have worked for the last 52 weeks to complete a certification which brings hope and gives them an opportunity to change their lives.

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“In this market, we talk about succession planning, so it fills me with great pride to be involved with something like this.”

He said the programme will continue next year, and Micheel and ICCA Dubai director and CEO Sunjeh Raja revealed that they hope to double the number of chefs taking the programme in its second iteration to 52.

Speaking to Caterer, Micheel said that the idea for the programme was born a decade ago, but it was only in 2014 when both Raja and Micheel were able to realise their dream.

“When Sunjeh was in the old school in Satwa, I said the school was too expensive. It was great but those who really need schools cannot afford them. My dream was to get education for the guys who have no money to pay for this,” he said.

Raja approached Micheel two years ago saying the infrastructure was in place, and after planning out logistics with Cuthbert, the programme was launched in collaboration with Emirates Culinary Guild (ECG), WorldChefs and the City & Guilds London.

“It is great to be here and to see what they have achieved – it’s fantastic. I’m motivated to go double next year,” added Micheel, who said chefs in the UAE who gave their time to train the young students every week is why the programme was a success.

The graduates of the class of 2016 included young chefs from JW Marriott Marquis, Ritz Carlton, Shakespeare & Co, Shangri-La, Emirates Flight Catering, The Address, Madinat Jumeirah, Fairmont, Atlantis The Palm, JA Resorts, Marriott Courtyard, Radisson Blu, Media One, and Unilever amongst others.

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