Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao (IFT) organised on 4 July a culinary skills workshop featuring American celebrity chef Graham Elliot. The event – hosted in partnership with integrated resort operator MGM China Holdings Ltd – allowed participants to learn directly from one of the world’s most famous chefs.
Ms. Betty Fung, owner of Café Bonbon, also joined the workshop as a guest speaker. Ms. Fung – an alumna of the IFT Tourism and Hotel School – shared some of her experiences as a food and beverage entrepreneur in Macao.
More than 30 people joined the workshop. Participants included local food and beverage professionals, and students of the IFT Culinary Arts Management Bachelor Degree Programme.
It is the third time Chef Elliot has visited the Institute. He praises the energy and excitement of the students. “I love it!” says the celebrity chef, made famous worldwide thanks to television programmes such as “MasterChef” and “MasterChef Junior”.
“For me to come here and share my experience and my journey, to share why and how I do things, it’s great to have students that are very excited. It’s just like playing music: you want to play to an audience that appreciates it. And the students at IFT really do,” Chef Elliot adds.
A restaurant he ran in Chicago, Illinois in the United States, was awarded 2 Michelin stars. Chef Elliot has won other awards, and also writes cookbooks.
He was visiting in Macao in his role as Consulting Chef for Coast, a restaurant due to open at the upcoming MGM Cotai integrated resort.
During the IFT workshop, Chef Elliot discussed the philosophy behind his approach to cooking: preparing food should be “a beautiful, romantic craft,” and chefs should respect and treasure all parts of the ingredients used, he said. He also shared details of his career as a chef.
The famed chef prepared 2 dishes for the participants to learn from: his signature Deconstructed Caesar Salad; and a personal version of one of the best-loved dishes of Macanese cuisine, African Chicken. Both dishes will be featured at Coast.
IFT students praised
Accompanying Chef Elliot to IFT was Mr. Oliver Weber, Director of Culinary of MGM. He highlights the close partnership between the Institute and MGM China.
“Any time we have an opportunity to work with IFT, it is very positive for us, because it helps us grow the local understanding of food,” he says. “IFT puts a great focus on Western cuisine as well, which is up-and-coming but does not have as much a tradition in Macao as Cantonese cuisine does.”