Asia’s hospitality and culinary economy: Our top 25 institutes
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Asia’s hospitality and culinary economy: Our top 25 institutes

SINCE the last year, Asian Correspondent has been closely following and reviewing the hospitality and culinary arts education industry. The publication has reviewed dozens of different hospitality and culinary arts schools, and spoken to hundreds of students, lecturers and celebrity chefs. In July 2010, Australian wine critic Peter Scudamore-Smith reviewed the state of hospitality and culinary arts for Asian Correspondent. In March and April this year, there were two further reviews on this site discussing Top 25 Hospitality and Culinary Arts Institutes for Asian Students and the Top 10 Hospitality and Culinary Institutes in North America.

UPDATE: Please see our 2012 review of the world’s leading international creative industries schools here

Asian Correspondent’s continued interested in the industry is not without reason. In the Asian economy, very few industries are increasing as exponentially as hospitality, tourism and culinary arts. And this increase has created many more jobs that need to be filled. A lack of skilled staff to take on these positions has, in turn, created an immense demand for trained professionals. The education sector has capitalised on this demand to provide more specialised training for students who wish to enter this industry. Schools like École hôtelière de Lausanne and ICCA Dubai are working hard to attract the brightest minds on their hospitality and culinary arts programmes, respectively.

And a career in the hospitality and culinary arts is the perfect break for Asian students who aim for a successful career in a dynamic industry. It provides an array of interesting vocational opportunities to choose from. With the job market in the field struggling to fill vacant spots, students have an increased chance of being well-placed after their graduation. And further, with new schools in this discipline springing up across the world, prospective students are spoilt for choice.

Asian Correspondent has reviewed the industry again, along with a list of attractive study options for Asian students, to cater to this increasing demand in the industry. With an increase in tourism, a surge in local economies, and the openings of new resorts and cruise lines in Asia and abroad everyday, this is the perfect climate to invest in a career in hospitality and tourism. The education sector is rushing forward to fulfil these needs, and it is crucial that Asian students are made aware of the choices available. With a plethora of schools on offer – ranging from specialist schools to the bigger and more traditional schools such as the Swiss Hotel Management School to the more corporate owners such as Education Management Corporation (EDMC) amalgamating a chain of recognised schools such as the Arts InstitutesAsian Correspondent has created another consolidated list for students to take advantage of.

And in order to gain further insight into the industry, the publication has spoken to Malayasian celebrity chef, Anis Nabilah, graduate of Food Institute of Malaysia and a successful example of this professional training.


Pic: The Art Institutes

Anis Nabilah is Malaysia’s youngest celebrity chef and media personality with seven popular TV shows. 24-year-old Anis is best known as the host of television cooking shows such as ‘Icip-Icip’, ‘Sesedap Rasa’, ‘Enak Tradisi’ and ‘Rasa-Rasa’. A graduate of Food Institute of Malaysia, Anis realized the importance of local Malaysian cuisine while travelling the country for her television shows. Here, she talks to Asian Correspondent about her passion for cooking, the rise of culinary arts in Asia, and the reasons behind it.

What sparked your passion for cooking?

We were a family of 10, as I have seven siblings. During my childhood, whenever my mum used to cook or bake, she would sit us down and make us participate. This was better than having eight children running around while she’s in the kitchen!  If she was baking a marble cake, it would end up looking like a rainbow with eight different colours – a bowl of colour to mix for each child. When I was 10, my interest in cooking increased and by the age of 12 I had already started baking shepherd’s pie or a meringue pie on my own. I find cooking a stress reliever!

However, I didn’t plan to be a chef when I was a teenager. I loved cooking but wanted pursue an education in psychology or journalism. After graduating secondary school, my mum suggested I enrol in a culinary school. I gave it a try, although I was scared that I would lose my passion for cooking once it became a job, but once I joined culinary school there was no looking back! I fell in love with it – it’s a different thing to cooking at home because you learn and practice the actual methods in detail. I also participated in several international competitions during my time at Food Institute of Malaysia. And it was fun as I won most of the competitions!

You are Malaysia’s youngest celebrity chef with 7 popular TV shows. How does it feel to be so successful at such an early age?

From my first TV show, I was determined to make it different. I wanted to teach my viewers the simple nature of cooking, not the culinary terms or culinary rules. I try to focus on educating people who don’t know how to cook at all, so that they at least try once. I want to break that mindset that cooking is difficult. I focus on simplifying techniques, and using ingredients that can be found in any shop in Malaysia. For example, in Malaysia it’s very expensive to buy cream so in my butterscotch sauce I don’t use cream but evaporated milk. I try to suggest ingredients that young adults in the cities and in the rural areas can both access.

How important was your professional training at Food Institute of Malaysia?

It was very important. I wouldn’t be who I am today if hadn’t received professional training. Culinary school equipped me with actual methods that are required as a chef, especially for international cuisine.


Pic: Anis Nabilah

What are the foundations for a good culinary education that Asian students should look out for?

Culinary schools have grown in popularity over the years in Asia. Even when I was a student, Malaysia didn’t offer a degree in culinary arts, which they do now. Prospective students should look for the best facilities, twinning programmes with other universities, and moreover, check the syllabi.

Why is the hospitality and culinary industry more popular in Asia now than ever before?

Earlier, Asians could only watch cookery shows on local channels by local chefs. Today in Asia, we have two channels dedicated to culinary shows around the clock – Asian Food Channel and Food Network Asia. Now there is so much choice and awareness. Prospective students are inspired by these chefs when they watch such shows and anyone with a slight interest in cooking might consider a career in this field.

Who is your favourite chef?

I love Wolfgang Puck! I also love Jamie Oliver. And Nigella Lawson – everyone has to love her. No one can make cooking look sexier than Nigella!

How important is social media to the hospitality and culinary industry today?

It is very important. Even chefs who are not celebrity chefs still share recipes and have their video blogs. For me, I have to constantly keep myself updated with culinary techniques and news. I read about it and watch videos online. It is also important for me to connect with my fans and update my recipes regularly.

What is your advice to budding chefs and culinary artists from Asia?

Culinary has no limitations. That’s what I keep telling myself. Don’t think just because you’re good at a particular cuisine like French or Italian that you need to stick to it – allow yourself to grow. With recipes, try a mixture of local ingredients with international cuisine. Eastern people of all people should be proficient in creating fusion recipes by mix-and-matching! Always keep yourself updated, go online and research, and remember the importance of social media.

If you want to try one of Anis’ delicious dishes, check out our Recipe of the Week here.

Here is our list of the 25 leading hospitality schools based on their curriculum and tuition, facilities, value for money, and their ability to offer students a real world experience.


Pic: EHL


If you are looking for a career in hospitality, a qualification from Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL) can boost your success in the field. The world’s first hospitality management school, EHL was founded in 1893.  Since then, the school has never ceased to grow and innovate, marking its place in the field of hospitality management as an educator and research institute of repute.

This hospitality educator is reputed for its international programmes in hotel education, ranging from hospitality and tourism management to hospitality administration. The institute offers bachelors, masters and diploma programmes.

EHL works in partnership with both the Swiss and the international hospitality industry. The Institute has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in the United States, and Europe’s Bologna Process. Read the full profile…


Located in the bustling metropolitan city of Dubai, the International Centre for Culinary Arts, Dubai (ICCA Dubai) is a hub of professional training for chefs and culinary enthusiasts from across Asia.

Dubai as a city, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a whole, is a tourist hotspot where the hospitality industry is booming, offering excellent employment opportunities. Most leading international hotel chains, international retail food concepts and speciality restaurants have representation in the city and the region is famous for its luxury resorts and hotels. This is one of the reasons behind the competitive food industry, where candidates who have innovative minds and creative hearts can excel. Read the full profile…


Part of the reputed The Art Institutes network, The Art Institute of California – Los Angelestops the list as one of the most attractive places for Asian students to earn a degree in culinary arts. California is famous for its liberal and diverse culture, and international students find more opportunities in this city than just about anywhere else on the continent.

This Art Institute, nestled in the city of dreams, emphasizes innovation, professionalism and creativity. This institute is well known for its ability to enhance career preparation for the culinary industry. One of the mainstays of this institute’s reputation is its faculty, who lead the culinary arts programs. These educators are industry stalwarts who share practical knowledge as well as theory. Some have managed operations in five-star restaurants while others have a background in production. Read the full profile…


Ivy League institute, Cornell University commands student respect and demand for its programs and high-quality student experience. The Cornell School of Hotel Administration is a premier educator in the field, widely respected by industry and education bodies from across the world. The School boasts of an accomplished faculty who pride themselves on dispensing innovative education, blending theory and practice. These are professionals with close associations with the industry. Such training ensures graduates succeed in this dynamic industry and have the confidence to be a driving force in their work environment. Four programs are on offer at the school: Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration, Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH), and MS and PhD degrees in Hotel Administration.


Pic: ICCA Dubai


Part of the distinguished Art InstitutesThe Art Institute of Seattle combines communication and critical thinking to deliver an innovative model of education that is vital for students to succeed in the competitive world of culinary arts.

The booming culinary sector in Asia has resulted in large numbers of students eager to cash in on growing opportunities in the Asian culinary arts scene. And in this field, the Arts Institute in Seattle is recognised as a leading educator.

The Art Institutes in North America, with a network of more than 40 campuses and a longstanding reputation for excellence, commands suitable influence both in North America and in Asia, thus working as the institute of choice for Asian students who are looking to boost their credentials and make a mark in the industry back home. Read the full profile…


International and well reputed, the University of Surrey has a strong tradition of academic distinction that has earned the institute global popularity. With excellent training, employment success and a unique student experience, the university has developed a strong student following. Its School of Hospitality and Tourism Management boasts of a high success rate as demonstrated by it holding the top spot in the UK in hospitality and tourism in all major tables and guides for 2011, including ones published by The Guardian, The Times, and The Independent. Undergraduate and postgraduate programs are on offer in International Hospitality and Tourism Management, Food Management and International Hotel Management among others. PhD programs are also available and students train at the contemporary Lakeside restaurant to further their practical skills.


The Art Institute of California – San Diego is part of The Art Institutes, a network of over 40 not-for-profit institutions for higher education that has been recognised for its high standards of teaching and training in North America. This academy, which is especially well known for its culinary courses, is geared to prepare the sharpest minds to succeed in an industry where well-honed skills and creative thinking are the recipes for success. The institute has a network of industry contacts and professionals that form a strong backbone to the unique education provided here. The Art Institute of California – San Diego is renowned for a nurturing environment that helps students realize their full potential.

The Institute has a tradition of producing excellence in the culinary arts, but also provides leading education in advertising, game art & design, visual & game programming, graphic design, fashion design, fashion marketing & management, interior design, media arts & animation, audio production, and web & interactive media. Read the full profile…


International students intent on earning high-level credentials that they can carry into the hospitality industry often look to The Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS). Students are encouraged to adopt the “Swiss Hospitality Touch”, a phenomenon born out of the longstanding leadership role that Switzerland has played in the field of international tourism. Students from 65 countries converge on SHMS’s two campuses each year to receive a path-breaking education that gears them for success in their careers. Students receive undergraduate training that can result in a Swiss Diploma, Swiss Higher Diploma or a BA degree in hospitality management, hospitality and events management, hospitality management and culinary arts, among others. Master’s programmes are also available in International Hospitality Management (MA), Resort and Spa Management (MIB) and others.


Pic: The Art Institutes


Cal Poly is a comprehensive public university in the United States that regularly features in national rankings as a leading educator in the country. It offers a distinctive learning environment for its students, training them to become sought after graduates in the job market. With 56% of Cal Poly students receiving employment offers before graduation and 82% in jobs within three months of graduation, the university is a popular choice for students not just from the US, but also across the world. It’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science incorporates new technology and an abundance of energy in its academic training, ensuring an exciting student experience. With a host of departments, the College provides majors in Food Science and Tourism Administration, among others. Small classes with expert faculty provide an intimate learning experience.


Ranked as the best new university by Sunday Times 10 years running, Oxford Brookes is already considered to be one of the leading institutes in the UK. The university provides a range of programs in the disciplines of hospitality, leisure and tourism. The Brookes Restaurant is one of the finest in the city and is run by the hospitality management students at the university’s Business School. Students learn to develop their practical skills along with their business acumen for a successful start to their professional careers upon graduation.


Australia’s Blue Mountain International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) provides respected university-level training in hospitality and event management. Founded in 1991, the School provides internationally recognized business qualifications in International Hotel and Resort Management, International Hotel Management, and International Event Management. Students earn a bachelor of business degree and have the opportunity to study at one of two campuses located in Leura NSW (a residential campus that operates a simulated hotel where students are the guests and the staff) and a second executive business campus opening in September 2011 located in the heart of Sydney. With a mission to deliver the highest quality hospitality business education, BMIHMS continues to produce the leaders of tomorrow.


Switzerland’s GIHE is among the top three hospitality schools in the world, providing excellence in education since 1962. Previously known as the Glion Hotel School, this private university-level Swiss hotel management school brings together over 1,500 students from 90 countries. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (CIHE) and offers undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma programs in hospitality management, hospitality operations, hospitality administration and restaurant operations. The school also famously offers an MBA in International Hospitality & Service Industries Management with specializations in leadership or marketing. GIHE graduates are popular with employers and students secure internships during their study both in Switzerland and abroad.


This Malaysian culinary school has produced several leading figures in the world of cuisine, including Malaysian chef Anis Nabilah. FIM students are geared towards a successful career in culinary arts with state-of-the-art technology and an expert faculty that ensures each student’s development is to its maximum potential. A friendly and caring atmosphere, combined with intensive training, provides students with the tools they need to excel in their careers. Diplomas, certificates and short courses are provided at the institute. Students can specialize in a number of areas, including Food Service and Restaurant Management, Pastry and Bakery, Western Cuisine, and Malay Cuisine. This is a Malaysian favourite, but also attracts students from across Asia.


Pic: ICCA Dubai


The Hotel School Sydney is a partnership between Southern Cross University and Mulpha Australia’s hotel portfolio, which includes Hayman, Intercontinental Sydney, and Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove. It also works in partnership with Sanctuary Cove and Bimbadgen Estate Wines. The academic pathway allows students to exit after Year 1, Year 2, or Year 3 – earning them diplomas, associate degrees or bachelor degrees respectively. Students can also go on to receive postgraduate training after completion of Year 3, while external graduates with suitable qualifications can also pursue postgraduate studies here. Masters programs are offered in Convention and Event Management, and Tourism and Hotel Management. MBA and DBA degrees are also on offer. Students can also avail of paid practical training.


PolyU is one of Hong Kong’s premier educational institutions, ranking 20th in Asia according to the World Universities Rankings 2010 League Table. The university’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management has been ranked second amongst global academic institutions. Academic programs are available in Hong Kong and Mainland China, although Hong Kong-based students enjoy much more choice. Higher Diploma, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy qualifications are offered in Hotel Management, Tourism Management, International Hospitality Management, and Hotel and Tourism Management respectively. The school’s 60-strong faculty are sourced from 18 nations and are all leaders in their own right within the industry. With such a talented pool of teachers combined with PolyU’s reputation and international appeal, it is easy to see why this is a popular draw for Asian students.


This private college established in 1983 in Malaysia is a pioneering academic force in the country. With highly regarded Culinary and Hospitality Management programs KDU Malaysia is a popular choice among Asians who want an international university experience near home. The university offers certificate, diploma and degree courses, with bachelor and master degree programs conducted in association with distinguished universities in Australia and the UK. Culinary graduates go onto careers in hospitality and food service, consultancy, education and training, and entrepreneurship while Hospitality & Tourism careers can also be found in tourism, and marketing and communication, among others.


The School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at Malaysia’s Taylor’s University is Southeast Asia’s largest and is highly regarded. The School received the prestigious Hospitality Asia Platinum Award (HAPA) for Hospitality School of the Year 2007, 2008 and more recently was awarded the Honorary Award for Hospitality Education Excellence 2011/2012. Certificate, diploma and degree programs are available in Hotel Operations, Culinary Arts, and International Hospitality Management, among others. PhDs are also offered in Hospitality and Tourism.


University of West London, previously known as Thames Valley University, is a public university located in the heart of London. The university is an academic attraction among Asian students and its London School of Hospitality and Tourism is internationally recognized for its industry-relevant courses. As a hospitality student, one learns how to work with food and beverages, and becomes proficient in traditional front of house and housekeeping skills. Students are also trained in operations management, human resources, marketing, information technology and accounting. Culinary students will train not only on academic programs recognized by industry bodies such as The Academy of Culinary Arts, The Association Culinaire Francais and The Master Chefs of Great Britain, but also get the opportunity to receive hands-on experience at London’s finest student-training restaurant, Pillars.


Pic: The Art Institutes


Vatel International Business School in France trains the future leaders of the industry. Founded 25 years ago, the school is recognized by industry experts for its ability to integrate academic theory with professional practice. Vatel graduates have an employment rate of 90% and thousands of alumni work in some of the most established hotels, resorts, restaurants and food service labels across the world. The school offers bachelor and master’s degrees along with an MBA in Hospitality & Tourism Management. The Marco Polo Exchange Programme allows Vatel students to study at any Vatel school around the world. Students also have the opportunity to engage in a vast range of internships to hone their practical skills.


Part of the Laureate International Universities (LIU) network, INTI International University and INTI International Colleges continue the tradition of the LIU network, whose Honorary Chancellor is none other than former US President Bill Clinton. LIU networks more than 55 accredited campus-based and online universities that offer education to more than 500,000 students from across the world. The institutes in Malaysia provide career-focused education with several affiliates in the hospitality industry including the Hilton, Hyatt Regency, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur and the Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport hotels, among others. The school offers diplomas in culinary arts, and hotel management at both campuses.


With a mission to secure successful careers for their students in the services industry, Ecole de Roches was founded in 1954 in France. With increasing popularity over the years, Les Roches International Hotel Management School was inaugurated in Switzerland in January 1987. The school focuses on Swiss work ethos, respect for cultural differences, leadership and an international perspective among others. Programs on offer include diplomas in hotel management, bachelor of business administration, master of business administration specializing in finance or marketing, and postgraduate diplomas in international hospitality administration, and business administration for culinary arts professionals. With 97% international students, the school boasts of almost 35% of its students from Asia.


JWU is a private not-for-profit university with four campuses in the United States. The university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. and boasts of an illustrious legacy of nearly 100 years. 17,000 students from across the world make this the perfect melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, and with J&W’s promise to put students first the university provides an unrivalled student experience. The College of Culinary Arts at the university provides a range of degrees in subjects such as Baking & Pastry Arts, Culinary Arts, Culinary Nutrition and Food Service Entrepreneurship. The College also provides Accelerated Programs for those who already have industry experience. The Hospitality College at J&W offers degrees in a range of subjects including Travel Tourism & Hospitality Management, and Hotel & Lodging Management. Students are exposed to on-the-job training with plenty of internship opportunities.


Part of the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality is ranked among the top 25 hospitality programs in the United States, according to the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education. Part of the prestigious Robinson tradition, the School has a mission towards delivering excellence in education and shaping the leaders of tomorrow. The School is committed to integrating ethics, innovation and value-enhancing strategies as part of their training for a holistic education. The School prepares its students not just in the trade, but also to be equipped to succeed in a culturally diverse society and be able to meet rising technological demands. The Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality is the only hospitality program with dual-accreditation (AACSB and ACPHA) in the state. Graduates conquer the industry in the fields of hotel management, resort management, restaurant and food service management, and private club management.


Pic: EHL


A successful educator in the world of hospitality, Hotelschool The Hague is an international vocational university that specializes in hospitality management. Located at The Hague in the Netherlands, the School has maintained its tradition of high-quality academic training since it was founded in 1929. It offers an International Bachelors Degree program (4 years), which is also available on a Fast Track format for completion in 2 years. The Hotelschool works in collaboration with Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) Erasmus University and offers a one-year master’s program. It is almost 10 years since the School has been listed as a member of ‘The Leading Hotel Schools of the World’. With a second campus in Amsterdam, the Hotelschool is a small but prestigious institution with almost 2,000 students and 100 lecturers to guide their academic and professional development.


César Ritz Colleges Switzerland is a world leader in hotel and hospitality management studies. Academics are enhanced with paid internships, and business and leadership skills that provide education beyond the textbooks. Higher diploma or undergraduate degrees are available in Hotel & Tourism Management, and International Business in Hotel & Tourism. Postgraduate diplomas and degrees are available in International Hospitality Management and International Business in Hotel & Tourism. Simultaneously, the Culinary Arts academy offers programs in Advanced Certificate Culinary Arts, Foundation Degree Culinary Arts and Bachelor (BA) in Culinary Arts. Students are exposed to a range of gastronomic events, including practice at in-house fine dining restaurants.