On the Quest for Singapore’s first Culinary Star
Published on 08 Jul 2017

What does a teacher, a Grab car driver and a Full time National Serviceman have in common? 

Inspired by a love for Asian food, they are in the running in Singapore’s first ever Culinary Star Quest competition. Organised by the Asian Culinary Institute – a joint collaboration between SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) to provide training and professional development for local chefs – the competition will see 15 participants cooking off with specified ingredients in the professional kitchens at ACI’s 19,000 sq ft premises.


Two dishes must be completed within 90 minutes; First a seemingly simple fried rice, but this dish will tell the panel of accomplished local chefs whether the participant has control of the fire – a major skillset in Chinese cuisine. Next, competitors will cook up a dish with specified ingredients.


Besides attractive cash prizes and a grand prize of a trip to Japan, talented participants could be selected to join the Singapore’s local culinary scene through a Place & Train Programme. Selected participants will also be personally be mentored by local master Chef Eric Teo. 

We invite you/your colleagues to come be with us at the competition, which promises to be visually exciting.

Where:  Asian Culinary Institute, 11 Eunos Road 8, #03-01 (lift lobby A), Lifelong Learning Institute, Singapore 408601
When: 8th July (Saturday) 2017
Time:  9.30am to 4pm

Contact: Mr Alvin Tay, Assistant Manager, Asian Culinary Institute, Tel: 6417 3652 or 9797 2708, Alvin_tay_hc@aci.edu.sg


Introduction to Asian Culinary Institute:

Asian Culinary Institute (ACI) Singapore is a joint collaboration between SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP). As an anchor CET partner for the F&B services industry, Asian Culinary Institute (ACI) Singapore provides training in Asian cuisines and professional development opportunities for aspiring and existing local chefs. ACI also engages in research & development to support innovation and productivity enhancement for the food services sector.


Objectives of Culinary Star Quest:

Culinary Star Quest competition is to attract aspiring talent who have the passion in culinary and are keen to join the F&B Industry. This is a platform to groom and develop aspiring talents. All participants will be invited to join the Place and Train Programme (PNT) where they are offered employment opportunities by employer and sponsored by their employers to attend the WSQ Qualification in Culinary Arts at ACI.


Currently we have 15 contestants for the competition


Target Audience:

  • Singaporeans and PRs only.
  • 18 to 50 years old.
  • Aspiring culinary talents who have an interest to work in F&B industry.


Competition Details:

  • Date: 8th July 2017, Saturday
  • Time: 9am to 4pm


Each participant will prepare 2 dishes with designated ingredients provided.

  • Two Dishes (to be completed within 1.5 hrs)

– First Dish: Fried Rice

– Second Dish: Designated ingredients to be given during the competition.


Panel of distinguished judges with Chef Eric Teo (Master Mentor) as lead judge:

a) Chef Eric Teo, Master Mentor from ACI

b) Chef Kong Kok Kiang from Kitchen Kinetics

c) Chef Francis Chong, Executive Chinese Chef, Peach Blossom Chinese Restaurant, Marina Mandarin Hotel, President of Singapore Chinese Cuisine Chef

d) Chef Roy Chua, Head Chef for Pastamania and Swiss Bake

e) Chef Daniel Sia, Culinary Director from The Lo & Behold Group

Top winners will stand a chance to win attractive cash prize and gifts including top prize of air ticket to Japan and accommodation.


Judging Criteria:

  • 20 points -Mise-En-Place and Cleanliness
  • 20 points -Correct Professional Preparation and Service
  • 10 points-Presentation / Innovation
  • 50 points-Taste

Total: 100 points


Information on the Place & Train Scheme:

All participants will be invited to join the Place and Train Programme (PNT) which is mentored by Chef Eric Teo.

Under the PNT, participants will be offered employment contract/opportunities by employer and will be sponsored by the employer to undergo skills- based training and structured on-the-job training, leading to industry recognized certification (WSQ Qualification in Culinary Arts) as below.

  • WSQ Certificate in Culinary Arts (Asian Cuisine)
  • WSQ Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts (Asian Cuisine)
  • WSQ Advanced Certificate in Culinary Arts (Asian Cuisine)
  • WSQ Diploma in Culinary Arts (Asian Cuisine)


Potential employers includes:

1) Commonwealth Capital

2) Creative Eateries

3) Elsie’s Kitchen

4) Select Group

5) Taster Group

6) The Lo & Behold Group


How Place and Train Scheme works:

Profiles of some of the contestants: 


1)    Mr Wong Meng Yin
       Age: 22
       Employment: Serving NS, ORD in Aug 2017

Reason for joining the competition:

Diploma in Pharmaceutical science graduate but half way through the course, he realised this is not where his interest lies. Nevertheless, he still proceed to complete his Diploma. During his polytechnic years, he has been cooking for his friends and that was when he realised he actually enjoys cooking. Upon graduation, he signed up for a culinary course at ACI to pick up the relevant culinary skills and he plans to join the Food Service Industry eventually.

Note: He is currently a trainee with ACI enrolled in WSQ Certificate in Culinary Arts (Asian Cuisine)


2)    Ms Lim Pei Yee
       Age: 40
       Employment: MOE Teacher


Reason for joining the competition:

Currently teaching in a MOE school but has always been interested in food. She was looking for a suitable culinary course when she found ACI. When she found out about this competition, she decided to take part to challenge herself and gain some experience. She is planning to join the food services industry in the near future.

Note: She is currently a trainee with ACI enrolled in WSQ Certificate in Culinary Arts (Asian Cuisine)


3)    Ee I-Ling
       Age: 38
       Employment: Currently unemployed


Reason for joining the competition:

Previously a group HR Manager in Wipro, she is now taking a break after leaving her job and is searching for other opportunities. She chanced upon this competition and decided to take part in it.  Her friends are always complimenting her on her cooking skills so this competition will be a good platform to exhibit her culinary skills. As food has always been her passion, she may consider a career in the food industry in future.


4)    Joseph Goh Jason
       Age: 43
       Employment: Grab Car Driver


Reason for joining the competition:

Currently a driver with GRAB, he has some experience in F&B under operations but not Back of House. Would like to go into the Food Service depending on the package offered.