The Northern Marianas Trades Institute’s culinary arts program added 30 more to the pool of on-island talents yesterday, graduating 13 from the morning class and 17 that took the night schedule.
NMTI’s head of the program, Hyatt Regency Saipan food and beverage director Ty Pauling, said the class began in late January 2018 and met four hours a day and two days a week.
He said the program is a 33-day or 16-week course where they train people who would eventually get into the local workforce, especially in the kitchens of hotels and restaurants in the CNMI.
He said that Tuesday night’s event was meant to showcase the skills “that our chefs have obtained while they’ve been with us. We’ve compressed a lot in a short amount of time. The goal of the program is to get people in jobs in our workforce.”
That included knife skills, plating and presentation, and flavor profiles. “We also focused in deconstructing fish and other seafood like shellfish, protein such as chicken, pork and beef, and making stock from bones,” said Pauling.
He said these skills are the ones that those who completed the program would use within the industry.
“We worked a lot on knife skills. A lot of time was spent in knife skills, something that I find to be essential in the culinary arts.”
Pauling added that cooking, aside from plating and presentation, is the reason behind learning the basic knife skills. “It is important to learn that size matters and consistency matters.”
Pauling said that they also updated the culinary arts program to better prepare the students. “We updated our syllabus and course material with the latest published books. We also digitized a lot to make it easier for the students.”
He said the culinary arts program began in 2015 and already has some graduates working as chefs or kitchen staff in restaurants on the island.
Pauling said one of their graduates started working at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan in 2017 and, in a span of one year, was promoted to teppanyaki chef based on the skills that she learned at NMTI and her own determination to improve.
“We began NMTI’s culinary arts program in 2015. Since then, we developed and expanded it to cover a lot more of the course material that is necessary to get into jobs within our industry,” said Pauling.