The Singapore Institute of Technology, finalises first intake of culinary students

The Singapore Institute of Technology, or SIT, has finalised its first intake of culinary students. 

40 will take to the stoves next January, under a reputable degree offered by the Culinary Institute of America, or CIA. 

There were twice the number of applications, and some were even GCE 'A' Level students. 

Evelyn Choo was at Temasek Polytechnic, where the campus will be housed. 

The aroma of savoury roast lamb wafted through the brand new kitchen at Temasek Polytechnic's Culinary Academy. 

It was expanded to accommodate undergraduates of the Culinary Institute of America. 

Even 20-year-old Sean Lim took time off his national service duty to test the premises. 

He's looking to set up a French restaurant once he graduates with a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Culinary Arts Management. 

"I'm going to expect a lot of competition in the industry, so with a CIA degree, it's definitely going to put you apart from all the other people, the riffraff. With a degree programme, you'll have something to back up your career on. If one day, you decide that you want to back away from the stove, you can go back to something like managing people or a restaurant."

Sean has done his research - and so have 80 others who applied for a spot in the prestigious programme - including those fresh out of polytechnic and working adults. 

The Singapore Institute of Technology was set up primarily as a degree pathway for diploma holders. 

But that didn't stop GCE 'A' level students from submitting their applications. 

Desmond Soon is Director of Student & Career Services at the institute. 

"The love of food spans all levels of education, so it's not just limited to the poly grads. We did get applications from a small number of 'A' level applicants whom we considered."

The school has decided to admit promising 'A' level applicants in the second admissions exercise next year, in February, capping the total intake at 40 students. 

Mr Soon says this limit must be maintained, due to the staff-student ratio and availability of facilities.

But it won't be easy - non-diploma applicants must have had six months of kitchen experience. 

Mr Soon with more. 

"There's been a lot of investment made in this programme, so we want to make sure the people we make offers to are going to graduate successfully from the programme, and they're going to bear the brand of CIA around the world well."

The heavily-subsidised course will teach students how they can prepare healthy meals, something Singapore's Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan strongly advocates. 

In his blog, he said the Health Promotion Board is facilitating some seminars conducted by the Culinary Institute of America, as there is a common objective to promote healthy eating among Singaporeans.