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.
ICCA Dubai plays an important role in educating and training the top chefs of tomorrow. It features regularly in the top 10 culinary institutes global rankings and boasts of a string of notable alumni who have been placed in high-profile jobs within the hospitality industry. Tripta Gurung, chef at The Okku, Monarch in Dubai, and former student at the institute, says: “ICCA Dubai has provided me the right platform to launch my professional career and through it I have also landed a job of my choice.”
And Tripta isn’t alone. Hundreds of students who have graduated from ICCA Dubai have received job opportunities at high-end companies in the hospitality industry including The Park Hyatt, The Shangri-la Hotel, Taj Residency, The Grand Hyatt, Emirates Group, Wagamama, Oceana Cruises, The French Connection, and Celebrity Cruises, among others.
The institute has been modelled on the Vocational Educational Training (VET) concept popular in Australia and the UK. The staff at ICCA Dubai have modified this model and refined it to adjust to the hospitality industry, bearing in mind the local market requirements of the region.
“ICCA Dubai training programme is industry-focussed and comes with assured work experience opportunities as an integral part of the training,” says Sunjeh Raja, Director of ICCA Dubai. “The quality of work placement provided is at the best hotels, food concepts and cruise lines internationally and stands as proof of the quality and delivery of the training standards at the institute.”
The culinary school provides a range of programmes to suit all levels, from students looking for a career as a professional chef to those who are simply looking to learn the basics of the trade. Additionally, specialised programmes provide comprehensive learning matched to individual abilities.
Mr Raja explains: “The curriculum at ICCA Dubai is predominantly based on Classical Continental Cuisine and popular regional specialities from across the world. This comprehensive training focuses intensively on the development of commercial cookery skills, product creativity, multitasking abilities, interpersonal skills, supervisory and leadership strengths, etc.
“In association with Futura Training in Australia, we take culinary training to the next generation through the innovative use of multimedia-based training and learning management systems for more effective learning.”
Here are just some of the courses on offer at ICCA Dubai:
Diploma in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) – Cooker/Patisserie
This diploma, with an accreditation from City & Guilds, London and recognised by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority of the government of Dubai (UAE), is a popular course among international students. The course comprises of 720 hours of full-time guided learning in theory and practical sessions over three months. Modules include Introduction to Hospitality Operations, Cookery – Entree & Side Dishes, and Interpersonal & Communication Skills among others.
Certificate in Culinary Techniques – Cookery
This amateur programme is designed to educate novices in all the basics required to begin a career in cookery. Aimed at ‘serious amateurs’, this course boasts of similar accreditations to the professional programmes available at the institute. Students receive hands-on training dispensed by highly-qualified professionals from the industry and can expect to be able create sophisticated multi-course menus, be proficient in practicalities such as efficient knife skills, and increase their fluency in kitchen terminologies.
Lifestyle Cooking Classes (Set Menus and Personalised)
For all food lovers, this is the right platform to create all those mouth-watering dishes that you so desire! Whether it’s just to improve upon existing skills in the kitchen or try out some new things, these Lifestyle Classes are a treat for the taste buds. Lessons cover a range of cuisines, with professional chefs sharing their trade secrets to help you create that perfect favourite dish.
Work Experience Placement (WEP)
This placement follows the 720 hours of intensive on-campus guided learning and training available to students enrolled on the professional programmes. Mr Raja elaborates: “The WEP Program is for the duration of a year and provides student chefs with valuable hands-on involvement in the industry working environment. These are paid work experiences and student chefs can apply the knowledge and skills that they have gained during their training. Such industrial work experience helps increase a student chef’s employment opportunities, both in the region and internationally.
“Placement for the first confirmed WEP Program is arranged by way of on-campus interviews. WEP Program contracts are directly agreed to, between the candidates and the Human Resource department of the respective cruise line or the employing company in the industry.”
ICCA Dubai students enjoy a high standard of living while studying for their qualifications. The institute provides quality boarding and lodging for its international resident students with access to all modern amenities and facilities. This guarantees that students receive a comfortable and homely stay – a necessary requirement to ensuring an exciting student experience.
Along with quarters for ladies and gents in the hostel accommodation facilities, private accommodation can also be arranged for international students. ICCA Dubai’s ties with near-by hotel apartments provide hassle-free house hunting that offers good value for money. An air-conditioned bus is provided daily for travel to and from the campus
Living in Dubai
Dubai, also known as the City of Dreams, is a major tourism and business destination. From striking glass and concrete towers to gracious modern buildings, Dubai’s skyline is as luxurious as life in the city.
Fine dining, nightlife, designer shopping – these are the qualities that make Dubai stand out among its neighbouring countries in the region. With tolerance and hospitality as important foundations of Islamic tradition that guide the atmosphere in this city, this is a perfect melting pot for an international student experience.
Dubai’s sub tropical climate and low rainfall make it an ideal location for Asian students who often have a similar climate at home and don’t need to adjust to any extremities.
“ICCA Dubai is predominantly focussed on students from Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia,” says Mr Raja. “This is, of course, apart from the students we receive from Europe. The training program and student hostel facilities have all been designed with Asian culture in mind.”